DHS Nominee Probed for Link to Visa for Chinese Investor

Wednesday, 24 Jul 2013 12:16 PM

By Lisa Barron

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President Barack Obama's nominee to be the deputy secretary of Homeland Security is under investigation for allegedly helping to obtain a special visa for a Chinese investor after the initial application was denied by the U.S. government.

Alejandro Mayorkas, currently director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, is being investigated by the inspector general for pushing through a visa application on behalf of McLean-based Gulf Coast Funds Management (GCFM) after it was denied by CIS, reports the Washington Times.

Anthony Rodham, brother of Hillary Clinton, is president and CEO of the company, which bundles investment funds from foreigners who want to come to the U.S. on an investors' program known as the EB-5 visa.

According to the Associated Press, the visa application was made by GCFM on behalf of a Chinese executive. The applicant was initially found to be ineligible for the EB-5 program, and a subsequent administrative appeal upheld the decision.

An email outlining the IG investigation, obtained by the Times, was sent to members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The email said that investigators, who initially acted on a tip from an FBI counterintelligence analyst, uncovered "subsequent allegations involving alleged conflicts of interest, misuse of position, mismanagement of the EB-5 program, and an appearance of impropriety by Mayorkas and other U.S. CIS management officials."

The email stated that the IG's office informed FBI agents conducting a pre-nomination background check on Mayorkas about the investigation last month, noting there have been no findings of criminal misconduct.

But the revelation could hurt confirmation prospects for Mayorkas, who is the only person Obama has nominated to the department in his second term despite several leadership posts remaining vacant.

Mayorkas was reportedly scheduled to have a confirmation hearing on Thursday, but Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, "has asked the committee to allow the inspector general to complete his investigations before moving ahead with the nomination," his spokesman, John Hart, told the Times.

A Senate aide told the newspaper that the administration had asked the committee to expedite the nomination so that Mayorkas could be confirmed as deputy secretary before the August recess, allowing him to act as secretary after departing Secretary Janet Napolitano steps down in September, CNN reports.

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