Democrat running for Tim Scott's Senate seat works for GreenTech Automotive

Cross-posted from The Quinton Report.

The State’s Andy Shain reports on a Friday night announcement:

Rick Wade, a former Gov. Jim Hodges cabinet officer and U.S. Commerce Department advisor, said he will seek the Democratic nomination next year for the U.S. Senate held by Republican Tim Scott.

“I have made the decision to run for the United States Senate,” the Democratic Lancaster native said in a statement released Friday night. “The people of South Carolina understand that Washington is broken. If we are going to solve the big problems we face and get things done, our representatives must be accountable to their constituents.

“That starts with three commitments: First and foremost, is the commitment to listen to the people, secondly, a promise to work for bipartisan solutions to fix our problems, and thirdly, a commitment to reduce the influence of special interests that have enjoyed too much power in Washington for too long.”

It’s interesting that Wade chose to announce on a Friday in mid-December. That’s probably not the greatest way to get a lot of media attention. He hasn’t tweeted since December 5.

Dick Harpootlian took a shot at the Tea Party while singing Wade’s praises:

“He’s a mature individual,” said Harpootlian, who agreed to back Wade’s bid. “He’s not going to play tea party games.”

Richland County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson is also running in the Democratic Primary. South Carolina Democratic Party  Chairman Jamie Harrison referred to Scott as the Senator of the Heritage Foundation.
One other item from the article:

Wade owns the Wade Group business consulting firm, splitting time between Washington and Columbia. He also is senior vice president and head of China operations for GreenTech Automotive.

Wade ran unsuccessfully for SC Secretary of State in 2002. He worked for Obama for America in both 2008 and 2012. Here’s his bio on the GreenTech site.

Here’ what the SC GOP had to say:

S.C. Republican Party Chairman Matt Moore tonight issued a statement following news that Democrat Rick Wade will enter the U.S. Senate race in 2014:

“The term ‘political insider’ doesn’t even begin to describe Rick Wade. He spent the last five years in Washington authoring President Obama’s failed $787 billion stimulus bill and sending taxpayer dollars to his political cronies at companies like Solyndra.

“We look forward to Rick Wade explaining that record to regular South Carolinians. They won’t be too impressed. To top it all off, we are not even sure Wade is a South Carolina resident at this point,” said Moore. “Rest assured, there’s more to come on Rick Wade.”

The SC GOP release also quoted a Human Events story:

Meet Barack Obama’s Greentech Connection”

Following a senior adviser role in Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, Wade was named interim director of the Department of Commerce and later became the department’s chief of staff and spokesman. While there, he helped craft Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus bill – the one that hyped such green-energy projects as the now-bankrupt Solyndra and even sent money overseas to aid production of green ventures in foreign countries. Wade got an education in cars via the president’s Auto Recovery Task Force, a $25 billion effort to prop up the failing U.S. auto industry.

A September report from government accountability group Cause of Action about GreenTech was titled GreenTech Automotive: A Venture Capitalized by Cronyism. I’ve included this complete report at the bottom of this post.

An Associated Press article in August reported on some of GreenTech’s problems:

GreenTech Automotive Inc. announced in 2009 production would start in three years and foreign investors who plunked down at least $500,000 for the venture would get the opportunity to live in the United States while an impoverished area of Mississippi would get desperately needed jobs and tax revenues.

But today, the company is under a federal investigation and about the only thing on its land in Tunica County is a temporary construction office. The company says it will be producing cars by April, but its plans have changed drastically, from a goal of 250,000 a year to 30,000.

And the federal investigation is reverberating far beyond Mississippi, bringing scrutiny to a Virginia gubernatorial candidate and the company run by the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

More from the article on the financing of GreenTech:

Besides backing from foreign investors, some 100 acres were donated by Tunica County’s economic development foundation, at a cost of $1.8 million, and in 2011 the state gave a $3 million loan toward site preparation. For a time, the company’s chairman was politically connected heavyweight Terry McAuliffe, a close adviser to both former President Bill Clinton and his wife, a former Democratic national chairman. McAuliffe is now a contender for Virginia governor.

The cars were supposed to start rolling off the assembly line in 2012. The company now hopes to start producing cars next year. And while they say they still plan to build a plant in Tunica County, all that was on the land on a recent afternoon was a construction trailer, a few pieces of equipment and a few workers strolling around.

The article also discussed the problems with the EB-5 visa program as it related to GreenTech:

Other analysts say GreenTech exposes problems with a program used to attract foreign investors – known as the EB-5 visa program.

David North, a fellow with the Center for Immigration Studies, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that examines immigration policies, said the foreign investors in the EB-5 program are primarily motivated by a desire to get green cards for them and their families, not to find lucrative propositions.

“So this EB-5 program by its very nature is often linked to second- and third-class investments,” he said.

Under the EB-5 visa program, foreigners can invest $500,000 or $1 million in American business ventures depending on the location of the project. In GreenTech’s case, the program called for $500,000 investments.

The EB-5 program is capped at 10,000 investors a year, and had 6,106 applicants in 2012.

Under the rules of the program, each EB-5 investment must create at least 10 jobs. In exchange, the foreign investors and their families get to stay in the United States for up to two years and can then apply for permanent legal residency, allowing them to permanently live and work in the country.

The federal U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Immigrant Investor Program also designates so-called “regional centers,” companies that have authorization to handle the company’s EB-5 investments – and can collect thousands of dollars in fees from foreign investors to process their visa applications.

In this case, Gulf Coast Funds Management – a company headed by Tony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s brother – is the designated “regional center” and has raised $45.5 million from foreign investors for GreenTech, according to an internal immigration services document obtained by The Associated Press that outlines background information about the firm. Rodham has not responded to phone messages at Gulf Coast Funds or a message sent to an email address listed in government reports submitted to the government.

The AP article also shows that GreenTech is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission:

In May, the SEC subpoenaed unspecified documents from GreenTech and banking records from Gulf Coast, according to nearly 100 pages of documents recently released by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

The documents indicate that GreenTech allegedly improperly guaranteed investors returns on their money. GreenTech has acknowledged receiving the subpoenas and said the company is cooperating with investigators.

According to the article, DHS is also involved in a GreenTech-related investigation:

The Department of Homeland Security inspector general also is investigating allegations that USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas_ President Barack Obama’s pick for the No. 2 slot at DHS – used his influence to help Gulf Coast obtain a foreign investor visa for a Chinese executive.

A Washington Free Beacon story on GreenTech discusses many of the information covered above. It also has this bit of information:

Virginia officials labeled the company a “visa-for-sale scheme” and feared that doing business with GreenTech could eventually “give the Commonwealth a black eye.”

Breitbart.com looked at more of the various investments involving GreenTech, as well as the SEC investigation. AutoBlog reported on the company’s CEO defending the visa investments and the SEC investigation. Car & Driver also reported on the investigations of GreenTech. The Foundry discussed Electric Cars and Crony Federalism earlier this year. Washington Free Beacon has covered GreenTech extensively.

Virginia Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe appointed a GreenTech executive to his administration in one of his first moves after his election in November.

It will be interesting to see how soon this becomes a campaign issue for Rick Wade.

Here’s the full Cause of Action report:

GreenTech Automotive: A Venture Capitalized by Cronyism