Va. Republican calls for federal probe of investment program used by Democrat McAuliffe's car company

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Local,Virginia,Steve Contorno

Hours after a Democratic lawmaker in Virginia called for a federal investigation into a company with close ties to Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican senator asked U.S. officials to probe Democrat Terry McAuliffe's green-car company.

Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Lynchburg, wrote the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services on Thursday after a Washington Post story noted Virginia economic development officials had concerns about GreenTech Automotive back in 2009. One state official said in an email at the time that the company's reliance on a federal program allowing foreigners to obtain a visa for large financial investments was a "visa-for-sale scheme with potential national security implications."

With Cuccinelli and McAuliffe both running for governor this year, Garrett asked the agency to "review the matter and provide an official response as soon as possible." He did not allege any wrongdoing by McAuliffe, who served as chairman of the Mississippi company until he quietly stepped down in November.

McAuliffe's campaign dismissed the call for an investigation.

"Ken Cuccinelli and his allies are so desperate to avoid talking about his ongoing scandal with Star Scientific that they are attacking a program supported by every U.S. Senator, all but three members of the US House, the McDonnell administration and Fortune 500 companies like Hilton and Marriott," said Josh Schwerin, McAuliffe campaign spokesperson.

Earlier in the day, Sen. Mark Herring asked federal officials to look into Star Scientific and its ties to Cuccinelli. The attorney general increased his investments in the company and received gifts from its CEO even as the supplement maker was suing the state over back taxes.

scontorno@washingtonexaminer.com

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