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Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

* Remember the story I posted not long ago about how a guy had thoroughly bamboozled Springfield’s top lobbyist, Gov. Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan, David Axelrod’s son and many others? Well, that guy was indicted yesterday

A Chicago man fraudulently raised $160 million from Chinese nationals who invested in his purported plan to build a convention center complex with hotels near O’Hare International Airport, the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago announced Wednesday.

Charges were lodged Wednesday against Anshoo Sethi, 30, who was the founder and managing member of A Chicago Convention Center LLC, which told investors it planned to build a hotel and convention center on 3 acres of land east of O’Hare.

The indictment alleges that between January 2011 and February 2013, Sethi defrauded 290 Chinese investors and deceived the U.S. government in its review of visa applications through false statements and representations.

According to the indictment, foreign nationals may obtain a certain kind of visa if they invest money in domestic projects. Sethi solicited Chinese investors interested in obtaining this visa to invest at least half a million dollars apiece, plus a $41,500 administrative fee.

* Around 10:30 this morning, I received this e-mail from the Cheri Bustos campaign…

BREAKING NEWS: Bobby Schilling’s Controversial “Visa for Sale” Program Dominating Illinois Headlines with Indictment

Last night, a high profile indictment for fraud involving Bobby Schilling’s controversial “Visa for Sale” program was filed. Schilling himself has also been recently scrutinized for using his influence as a former Member of Congress to cash in big, selling U.S. residency to wealthy foreign nationals.

The release referenced an earlier Bustos release

After getting elected thanks to the help of executives that get rich off of wealthy foreign investors, ex-Congressman Bobby Schilling stood up in support of the controversial “Visa for Sale” program. Now he’s making a six-figure salary working for the same executives that helped him get elected.

“If this is what Bobby Schilling means by ‘leading by example,’ then what should Illinois working families expect next?” said Jeremy Jansen, Bustos’ Campaign Manager. “Schilling not only voted to give tax breaks to corporations shipping Illinois jobs overseas and fled a public meeting with workers whose jobs are now in China, but after losing re-election Schilling walked out of Congress into a six-figure job selling American visas to wealthy Chinese investors that pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to game the immigration system.”

* Schilling’s campaign responded a few moments ago…

Cheri Bustos Steps In Cowpie

Bustos co-sponsored a bill in January that would make EB-5 program permanent

Clumsy attempt to change subject backfires

Bustos campaign melting down in desperate bid to divert attention from
Bustos’ broken promise to give back 10 percent of her salary

EAST MOLINE, Ill.—Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-East Moline) lashed out mindlessly today by attacking Bobby Schilling (R-Colona) for supposedly “selling visas.” The EB-5 program that Bobby Schilling’s employer, CMB Regional Centers, operates under is renewed by Congress every three years, and this past January, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos co-sponsored legislation to make the EB-5 program permanent. How’s that for hypocrisy?

H.R. 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, has nearly 200 co-sponsors in Congress, including Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. The bill “makes the EB-5 visa regional center program permanent.”

Yes, you read that correctly—today Cheri Bustos lashed out against a program she co-sponsored. The program has incredible bipartisan support and even includes support from Bustos’ mentor, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).

The EB-5 program does the exact opposite of outsourcing jobs. For far too long, American wealth has been invested overseas, creating jobs in countries all over the world. The reason Senator Durbin and others in Congress support the EB-5 program is to lure foreign investment to the United States, creating new American jobs here at home.

Under the EB-5 program, CMB Regional Centers in Rock Island has helped create more than 90,000 new American jobs and helped add more than $7 billion in economic activity to rural and high unemployment areas throughout the United States of America.

Bustos’ claim that the program is “selling visas” is ridiculous because selling visas is illegal. It seems Bustos’ desperate campaign doesn’t know much about her record in Congress because today they attacked a U.S. government program that Congresswoman Bustos has passionately supported by co-sponsoring a bill in Congress to make the EB-5 program permanent.

Cheri Bustos cannot have it both ways. If she thought the EB-5 program was a bad idea, she should not have sponsored legislation to make it permanent. Either she thinks the voters of Illinois are not paying attention, or she thinks we are too stupid to notice that she is lambasting a program she has previously supported for political gain. Clearly her sudden revelation that the EB-5 program is a work of evil is politically motivated by her need to change the subject from her broken promise to give back 10 percent of her congressional salary.

Schilling campaign manager Steven Shearer commented, “One wonders what caused Cheri Bustos to make another unforced error of this magnitude. Out here in farm country it’s called stepping in a cowpie.”

And it’s not even September.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


17 Comments
  1. - qcexaminer - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    I started hearing about this “Bobby Schilling is brokering green cards to foreign nationals” way back in April.

    I thought it was ridiculous and that Bustos would never go for it in her campaign.

    Ooops! Another failed prediction!


  2. - Amateur Hour - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 12:36 pm:

    If Cheri really did co-sponsor that bill, that reflects really poorly on staff. How could they have missed that?

    Talk about unforced errors…


  3. - Tired of it... - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    When will the media start holding Bustos accountable?

    Not keepin the 10% promise….

    Bashing Schilling for a program she co-sponsored….

    It is like she thinks we are all stupid, especially the press. When will they take a stand?


  4. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    Sethi should have run for governor. He must be a better snake-oil saleman than Rauner.


  5. - OneMan - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    Now that is an unforced error…

    Let me guess, when she co-sponsored the bill she wasn’t really for it or was she just misquoted…


  6. - Western Ave. Doug - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    Hated Steve Shearer in the primary, but love him now. Well played!


  7. - TrackerOne - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    For a politician that wraps himself daily in the American flag to be caught selling visas to foreign nationals is highly problematic.


  8. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    The only tie between Mr. Sethi and her opponent is using the same visa program she co-sponsored to make permanent - but when Mr. Sethi was indicted for abusing the program she co-sponsored as supporting and making permanent, she used Mr. Sethi’s indictment to refer to her opponent’s involvement in the same program she co-sponsored and supported as making permanent, as a bad thing?

    Stepped into a cow patty?
    No - her candidacy is having a patty melt-down.


  9. - IndependentVoter61282 - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    X-Congressman Schilling said he was having trouble paying his bills, but I never imagined he would stoop to selling VISAS to foreigners. Shameful!


  10. - low level - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    Who does Bobby’s press? I am completely confused. Try cutting about … 1/2 of it. At least.
    Then come back to the class.


  11. - Ashley Q - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    This looks a bit desperate. Is Bustos ahead in the polls? I thought she had this seat on lockdown. Schilling might have a chance.


  12. - Federalist - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 2:38 pm:

    “Cheri Bustos cannot have it both ways. If she thought the EB-5 program was a bad idea, she should not have sponsored legislation to make it permanent.”

    That pretty much sums it up!

    She has a natural built in lead by c. 5-6%. And Schilling does not really excite people. But at this rate she could lose.

    To be honest, I have not really analyzed EB-5. I am suspicious of such programs although in theory this is the type of visa and immigration program that could be justified as long as they hire U.S. citizens and don’t go overseas to import their workers.


  13. - walker - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 2:38 pm:

    “But it sounded like such a great deal!”


  14. - OurMagician - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 2:39 pm:

    Mike Frerichs thinks Cheri’s doing a great job.


  15. - A guy... - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    Bing bing bing….Richochet Rabbit!

    Cheri, Cheri, Cheri. Hope you remembered to duck. This was incredibly stupid.

    Anshoo should get a reduction of 1 year in prison for fooling Madigan. That don’t happen every day.


  16. - Shemp - Thursday, Aug 28, 14 @ 3:30 pm:

    I knew where this was going before I even got to reading Schilling’s reply. DCEO and other area elected officials from the (D) side of the aisle have thrown this out in economic development meetings regularly. They have never balked at the program when trying to tell local economic developers that the EB5 program is a tool to be used. Bustos campaign staff trying to lose this race? It should be her’s to lose, not his to win based on history.


  17. - Oracle - Friday, Aug 29, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    I don’t understand how Bustos can attack Schilling for what she co-sponsored and not be held accountable in the newspapers? I read the article today in the Daily Dispatch, and of course there was a few scant lines about Bustos co-sponsoring the same measure, but you had to dig through it to find it. She needs to be called out for her willingness to simply play politics! Whether the program is a good one or not, I suppose time will tell, but to attack someone while supporting the same thing is down right dishonest!


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