Government & Constitution

Clinton connection:
More money for McAuliffe

Clinton connection: More money for McAuliffe

This article originally appeared on Watchdog.org.

DELAPLANE, Va. – Terry McAuliffe raised campaign cash and talked jobs at the home of another friend of Bill Clinton — former IRS Commissioner Margaret “Peggy” Richardson.

Richardson is almost symbolic of McAuliffe’s political and business connections. Clinton’s appointee to head the Internal Revenue Service, she now sits on the board of Gulf Coast Funds Management, a funding arm of GreenTech Automotive, the electric-car company McAuliffe formerly chaired and in which he’s still a major investor.

McAuliffe, making his second run for governor of Virginia, is perhaps most famous as a prolific fundraiser for the Clintons and as former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

About 50 people attended the Sunday soiree in Delaplane, said Conway Porter, chairman of the Fauquier County Democratic Party.

McAuliffe “talked about bringing jobs to Virginia,” Porter told Watchdog.org on Monday. “He also talked about education.”

McAuliffe’s record on job creation has been mocked by his Republican rival, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and questioned in numerous news reports.

The New York Times cited memos from Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine’s administration expressing “’grave doubts’ about (McAuliffe’s) business model” at GreenTech. GTA leases an assembly plant in Mississippi, where the company says it employs 78 workers.

In a July 2012 interview with CNN, McAuliffe said, “We’re going to have 1,000 employees by next year.”

The amount of cash raised for McAuliffe at Richardson’s Delaplane home was not divulged. An invitation showed the entry fee to the private event started at $250 for “guests.” Other admission categories were listed as “Friend” ($500), “Sponsor” ($1,000), “Patron” ($2,500) and Co-host” ($5,000).

Neither Richardson nor McAuliffe’s campaign responded to Watchdog’s requests for comment.

As a director of Gulf Coast, Richardson helps raise capital for GreenTech through the federal “EB-5” visa-investor program. That program grants U.S. residency to foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 in qualified U.S. companies.

Gulf Coast’s president is Anthony Rodham, the younger brother of Hillary Clinton.

During Bill Clinton’s tenure, McAuliffe, a formidable political fundraiser, was known in Democratic circles as the “booking agent for the Lincoln Bedroom.”

Richardson, who served as Bill Clinton’s IRS commissioner from 1993 to 1997, also is a board member of the local Piedmont Environmental Council.

The PEC has engaged in an ongoing battle against Fauquier County farmer Martha Boneta over her sale of farm products.

Meanwhile, Watchdog reported, the IRS notified Boneta that it would be auditing her 2010 and 2011 tax returns.

Richardson cautioned against jumping to conclusions.

“Coincidences do happen,” she told Watchdog last month.

Boneta asserts that the audits are a “coordinated effort” to force her off her farm.

In April, GreenTech sued Watchdog for $85 million, alleging that its reporting defamed the company and damaged its prospects with investors.

Kenric Ward is chief of the Virginia Bureau. Contact him at kenric@watchdogvirginia.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward

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