The Washington Post

GreenTech story is a mess, but not a scandal


This year’s bizarre gubernatorial race has had stories beyond belief. There’s Jonnie, Maureen, Todd, Ken and Bob. And there’s also Terry, Xiaolin and Benjamin.

The tantalizing tales of the first group need not be repeated at length. They, of course, involved tardily disclosed stock holdings, a wife not telling her husband about stock buys, big-time real estate loans, Fifth Avenue shopping sprees, a borrowed $190,000 car, a Rolex, catered Thanksgiving dinners and so on.

The other involves the more complicated tale of GreenTech autos, a business venture involving Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.

The former is actually fairly straightforward. The second on is a lot more complex.

So, we have ABC News to thank for the most detailed perspective yet on GreenTech, which seems a mess but not exactly a scandal, no matter how hard Ken Cuccinelli, the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate, tries to make it into one.

As the ABC story notes, there was plenty wrong with the predecessor company of GreenTech involving businessmen Xiaolin Wang and Benjamin Yeung, who were fighting it out in court over investments before McAuliffe ever arrived on the scene.

And it isn’t clear what McAuliffe actually did that was so bad, other than lobby to get business executives legal visas. I mean, if you are going to do business with foreign nationals and you live in a global economy, you need visas. Trying to get them can be a pain. But doing so is not exactly a crime.

Just ask me. I had to get foreign visas for people, myself included, for years. And (full disclosure), I have also helped foreign nationals get U.S. visas. I freely admit it and it was all fully legal. Maybe Ken Cuccinelli should make a political ad about me.

On the other hand, owning stock and not disclosing it in a company owned by Jonnie Williams, the central figure in the Giftgate affair, is a horse of a different color, even though Cuccinelli has been cleared of wrongdoing. We’re still waiting for word on Bob and Maureen McDonnell.

As for McAuliffe, I see a lot of smoke and no fire. It seems that if he’s done anything wrong it was that he got mixed up in a bad business deal. But then, writing for Bacon’s Rebellion, while honorable, is a bad business deal. Details on request.

Peter Galuszka blogs at Bacon’s Rebellion. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.



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Michael Larabee · August 28, 2013

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