Terry McAuliffe is, of course, the Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia and the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. But he is also a businessman; in fact, his website calls him “a Virginia businessman fighting for Democratic causes and creating jobs.” His latest venture is GreenTech Automotive, a company that manufactures battery-powered cars. And it’s created jobs – around 100 – but not in Virginia.
GreenTech’s signature product is the MyCar, a “neighborhood electric vehicle” priced at $10,000, which accelerates to just 45 mph, requires a charge after 70 miles, and cannot be driven on a highway. The MyCar, which has been compared to a golf cart, is intended for use in neighborhoods and small communities. McAuliffe is pictured below in one of the vehicles.
Oddly, though McAuliffe is running for office in Virginia, the MyCar is produced at a facility in Mississippi. According to Bloomberg, he secured a “package of state incentives” from Mississippi’s Republican governor, Haley Barbour, which prompted him to base GreenTech’s manufacturing facility in the state. Though Virginia officials say the project was brought to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership during the administration of former Democratic governor Tim Kaine, the organization claims it never received a concrete business plan. McAuliffe blames the Partnership for its failure to offer appropriate tax incentives. He has also cast blame on Republican governor Bob McDonnell.
During his last campaign for governor, in 2009, McAuliffe ran into trouble for his failure to create jobs in the state of Virginia. Since then – GreenTech was founded in 2009, and the Mississippi facilities opened in 2010 – his record in this regard hasn’t improved, and local reporters are beginning to ask questions.
If McAuliffe has crossed party lines to do business, he has also worked connections in the Democratic party. According to the New York Times Magazine, Hillary Clinton’s brother Anthony Rodham, former Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco, and a former IRS commissioner sit on the board of GreenTech’s primary investment group, Gulf Coast Funds Management.
As the gubernatorial race between McAuliffe and Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli heats up, these are issues to look out for.