Axios: J.D. Vance’s investments made use of H-1B visas he opposes
April 23, 2022
Columbus, OH — As a Senate candidate, Silicon Valley J.D. Vance has decried companies that use H-1B visas, but as a venture capitalist, he invested heavily in them. It’s a mode of operating that’s all too familiar for Vance, whose signature move is to say one thing and do the opposite.
The issue could produce tension between Vance and Trump, who promised to end the program and tightened H-1B visas while in office, and is hosting a rally tomorrow here in Delaware.
“Silicon Valley Vance made a fortune investing in corporations that undercut Ohio workers and as soon as he became a Senate candidate, changed his tune to further his own ambition,” said Michael Beyer, a spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party.
Sophia Cai and Dan Primack
April 22, 2022
- J.D. Vance has spoken out strongly against H-1B visas as a Senate candidate in Ohio, but his history as a venture capitalist tells a different story.
- Around three dozen companies in which Vance-affiliated funds invested, and in which he still has economic interests, have applied for the visas, which often are used by American tech companies to hire highly skilled foreign workers.
- Why it matters: Vance and former President Trump are slated to appear together tomorrow night at a rally in Ohio, where H-1B visas are often used as rhetorical punching bags by candidates seeking to appeal to blue-collar workers.
- Trump tightened H-1B visa eligibility while in office, after having pledged to “end forever” the program on the campaign trail. His recent endorsement of Vance has been controversial among Republicans in Ohio, where Democrats hope to flip a seat in November.
- Background: Vance, who got his start in venture capital with Peter Thiel, in 2017 joined Steve Case’s Revolution to invest in Midwestern startups. Two years later he left Revolution to co-found his own firm in Ohio, called Narya.
- What we’re watching: Thirty-eight companies that received investment from Revolution’s first Rise of the Rest fund and/or Narya have applied for H-1B visas, according to Senate financial disclosures and the Department of Homeland Security database. Among them:
- StockX, a Detroit-based online sneaker marketplace, filed 31 petitions for H1-B visas between 2019 and 2022, for both initial and continuing employment.
- FiscalNote, which owns CQ Roll Call, filed 15 petitions between 2015 and 2021.
- AppHarvest, an indoor tomato grower in Kentucky that’s now publicly traded, filed five petitions in 2021 and 2022. Vance was on AppHarvest’s board of directors until April 2021.
- At a campaign stop in Dayton, Ohio in January, Vance called the H-1B visa “an unholy alliance between government and our biggest corporations.”
- The bottom line: Politicians with professional investing backgrounds often find their rhetoric coming into conflict with their résumé.