Politics

 

Probe Snares Obama Nominee

Probe Snares Obama Nominee

The nomination of the No. 2 official at the Department of Homeland Security is indefinitely delayed over an investigation into his dealings with companies run by Terry McAuliffe and Hillary Clinton’s brother.

Republican senators boycotted last week’s confirmation hearing for Alejandro Mayorkas, Obama’s nominee to become the deputy secretary of homeland security, a job that could result in him running the department when Secretary Janet Napolitano steps down in September. Two days before the hearing, the news had broken that Mayorkas was under investigation by the department’s own inspector general.

“You shouldn’t have a hearing on someone who has an ongoing IG investigation until you have the results of the investigation,” committee ranking Republican Tom Coburn (R-OK) told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.

Coburn said he wouldn’t agree even to a committee vote for Mayorkas. “It’s not going to be voted on until the investigation is complete,” he said.

Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that the Mayorkas nomination will not be on the agenda at this week’s committee business meeting, so senators will leave town for the August recess without addressing the matter.

The IG office opened the investigation last September based on a referral from the FBI, but its progress is unclear, Carper said. Mayorkas has never been interviewed, and the IG won’t explain to Congress the nature of its investigation, he said. Carper said he believes holding up Mayorkas’s confirmation is unfair.

“Part of our responsibility is to vet nominees, not to kill nominees, not to hold them forever,” Carper said. “To have his reputation questioned by an investigation that supposedly started nine months ago and hasn’t even issued any preliminary findings, it’s not the way to treat people.”

For the last four years, Mayorkas has been the director of the customs and immigration service, where among his many responsibilities was overseeing the EB-5 program, which grants visas to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in a new American business that will create or preserve domestic jobs.

Mayorkas is alleged to have used his influence to help secure a visa for a vice president at Huawei Technology, a Chinese firm investigated by the House Intelligence Committee for its ties to Chinese intelligence and military. Huawei declined to comment on the matter.

The request for the EB-5 visa was submitted and supported by Gulf Coast Funds Management, a firm run by Clinton’s brother Anthony Rodham. Gulf Coast has a partnership with GreenTech, an electric automotive company founded by Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffeMcAuliffe is building a factory in China.

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