Virginia’s Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe went into business with Hillary Clinton’s brother Anthony Rodham to create an electric car company in America. They were obviously planning on having a friend in the White House

Things haven’t gone as planned, however, and some investors are now suing.

Josh Gerstein reported at Politico:

Chinese investors sue McAuliffe, Rodham over green-car investments

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s brother Anthony Rodham are facing a $17 million fraud lawsuit from Chinese investors in Greentech Automotive, an electric car company that appears to be struggling to survive.

A group of 32 Chinese citizens filed the suit last week in Fairfax County, Virginia court, claiming that they were swindled out of about $560,000 apiece as a result of misrepresentations made by McAuliffe and Rodham—two of the most prominent and politically connected proponents of the venture aimed at manufacturing electric cars in the U.S.

The suit is yet another headache for McAuliffe as he mulls a potential presidential bid in 2020, buoyed in part by Democrats’ strong showing in the state in the election earlier this month. McAuliffe confirmed last year that his business dealings with foreign nationals were under investigation by the FBI and federal prosecutors. It’s unclear whether that probe involved Greentech or whether the inquiry is still ongoing.

The Chinese investors plowed their money into Greentech with the promise of winning permanent residency in the U.S. under a program that awards green cards to foreign-funded ventures that generate U.S. jobs.

Anthony Rodham was clearly chosen to be involved for a singular purpose:

McAuliffe and Rodham did several tours through China to seek investments in the electric car startup, the suit says. As brother-in-law of President Bill Clinton and as brother of the then-secretary of state—Rodham appeared to serve as a means of attracting Chinese interest in the project. The suit contends that Rodham’s involvement conveyed that the electric-car firm was politically-connected and likely to prosper.

Cameron Cawthorne of the Washington Free Beacon highlights the response from McAuliffe’s spokeswoman:

McAuliffe’s spokeswoman, Crystal Carson, pushed back against the claims in the suit and noted that McAuliffe gave up his role in Greentech five years ago.

“We strongly reject this baseless suit which has no merit whatsoever. The claims, which regurgitate old political attacks regarding a company that Governor McAuliffe left five years ago, were brought by a lawyer with conservative ties,” Carson said. “We are confident it will be dismissed.”

Cawthorne also points to a 2015 Politico report which presaged this fiasco:

Report cites favoritism for McAuliffe and brother of Hillary Clinton

A Department of Homeland Security watchdog report issued Tuesday blasted the agency’s No. 2 official for repeatedly intervening on behalf of well-connected participants in an investor-visa program, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) and Tony Rodham, a brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The inspector general report faults Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas for creating “an appearance of favoritism and special access” as a result of highly unusual steps he took while serving as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversaw the investment-based program known as EB-5.

“Mayorkas communicated with stakeholders on substantive issues, outside of the normal adjudicatory process and intervened with the career USCIS staff in ways that benefited the stakeholders,” Inspector General John Roth wrote. “In … three instances, but for Mr. Mayorkas’s intervention, the matter would have been decided differently.”

This story would be unfolding very differently right now had Hillary won the 2016 election. We would probably be told we have to give a taxpayer-funded bailout to this innovative company that combines the American spirit of business with sound environmental principles.