McAuliffe Watch

McAuliffe Joined GreenTech Later than He Suggested, Investigation Shows

Terry McAuliffe / AP

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe may have had less to do with the creation of GreenTeach Automotive than he previously claimed.

According to Watchdog.org, McAuliffe is listed nowhere on the incorporation documents and his close friend President Bill Clinton may have aided in the company’s creation.

McAuliffe has claimed that he founded the electric car company.

"I’m founder of a company called GreenTech Automotive, a very ambitious project," he said during a 2011 speech. "It’s gotten a lot of press because I’ve done something I’m not sure anyone else has ever done."

However, McAuliffe actually did not sign onto the project until at least a year after it was created out of a partnership between Clinton, a Democratic lobbyist, and two prominent Chinese entrepreneurs.

According to the investigation, Rong Yang, who now goes by Benjamin Yeung, brought his Chinese company Hybrid Kinetic Automotive Holdings to the United States where it was incorporated in Delaware in 2008. Yeung partnered with Charles Wang, a Chinese lawyer who also ran British Virgin Islands investment company Capital Wealth Holdings.

The plan was to solicit funds through the EB-5 visa program, which gives out green cards in exchange for large foreign investments to U.S. companies. This plan was how a partnership with lobbyist John O’Hanlon, who promised to lobby to create a "Super EB-5" program, came to fruition.

Watchdog.org reports:

Their company, Hybrid Kinetic Automotive Holdings, was incorporated in Delaware on March 28, 2008. The pair intended to solicit funds via America’s EB-5program, which offers foreign nationals a U.S. visa in exchange for investments of more than $500,000 and the creation of jobs in targeted industries and economically distressed regions.

A subsequent federal lawsuit shows the pair hired O’Hanlon in April 2008 for a $240,000 yearly retainer. In return, O’Hanlon promised to help get EB-5 donors and ‘lobby to enact Legislation and/or regulation’ to create a new, vastly expanded ‘Super EB-5’ visa program. The Super EB-5 visas would be available only to ‘environmentally friendly investments’ — investments like Hybrid Kinetic.

The businessmen also found the perfect person to attract investments from China into the newly formed company: Bill Clinton.

While the former president was in Hong Kong for the Clinton Global Initiative’s Asian summit in December 2008, Hybrid Kinetic paid him $300,000 to speak in support of the company during a forum it sponsored during the summit.

According to Wang, Clinton became an active supporter of the project.

"Former President Bill Clinton also has been active in the project, traveling to Hong Kong and introducing company representatives to heads of state at his recent global initiative," Wang told reporters.

According to Virginia state business filings, McAuliffe was not brought on board to GreenTech until all of this had already occurred.

This conflicts greatly with statements made in the past by both GreenTech and McAuliffe.

As recently as February 2013 the company’s website claimed that McAuliffe founded the company in 2006.

McAuliffe also has had difficulty coming to grips with exactly when he decided to jump-ship from the company.

McAuliffe told the crowd at a Jan. 22, 2013 campaign event, "I’m building electric cars now." However, his campaign announced just months later in April that he had actually resigned from his chairmanship in December.