Neighborhood EV startup GreenTech Automotive and it’s sister company, Gulf Coast Funds Management, which are the subjects of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into how they solicited foreign investors seeking EB-5 visas, are also at the heart of a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s investigation of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas. The USCIS-IG is examining Mayrokas’ role in helping those firms secure a job-creating investor’s visa for a Chinese executive. Mayorkas has been nominated by Pres. Obama for the number two position at DHS and would be acting director until the president names Janet Napolitano’s replacement as secretary of Homeland Security. GreenTech/Gulf Coast has been the largest beneficiary of the EB-5 program since 2009, with almost 100 approved and more pending.
A email sent to members of Congress from the IG’s office said that its investigation of the EB-5 visa program began last year after a referral from the FBI’s counter intelligence unit. The EB-5 program allows those who are not U.S. citizens to get a citizenship-tracked permanent residency visa to this country if they invest $500,000 to $1 million in a manner that is considered job creating. The email said that Mayorkas was alleged to have helped Gulf Coast, run by Anthony Rodham, the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, get a particular Chinese investor in GreenTech, co-founded by Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, a visa, though both the original application and an appeal were denied. The Washington Post has reported that Clinton, McAuliffe and other GreenTech and Gulf Coast personnel had a dozen email and phone contacts with Mayorkas and other high level Homeland Security officials regarding the investor’s visa.
According to the Inspector General’s email, there are also allegations that officials in the USCIS Office of General Counsel obstructed a Securities and Exchange Commission audit of the EB-5 program that took place before the current SEC investigation. The FBI has been looking into the EB-5 program and other foreign funded projects since at least March of 2012, according to emails the Associated Press obtained. National security concerns prompted the look into Chinese investments in American technology and infrastructure.