Critics: Obama Pick for DHS a 'Loyalist and Fundraiser'

Friday, 18 Oct 2013 10:33 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Critics are questioning the qualifications of former Defense Department lawyer Jeh Johnson to head the Department of Homeland Security, and are describing the president's nominee as an Obama "loyalist and fundraiser."

Federal campaign finance records show that over the past decade, Johnson has contributed more than $100,000 to Democratic candidates and groups, Fox News reported.

He was also a supporter of Hillary Clinton, giving $2,300 to her presidential primary campaign in July 2008, and also kicked in for Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; and Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.

"Rather than selecting someone who knows the unique dynamics of our southern border, President Obama has tapped one of his former New York fundraisers. We need someone who knows how to secure the border, not dial for dollars," Republican Sen. John Cornyn said.

The Department of Homeland Security includes more than a dozen agencies, from the Coast Guard and Secret Service to the Federal Emergency Management Agency — and oversees the three immigration services: Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Cornyn said Friday Johnson is lacking in those areas.

“After this administration’s mismanagement of DHS, in particular its failure to secure the border, Texans expect a nominee with serious management and law enforcement experience,”  the Texan said, according to a Washington Times report.

Rosemary Jenks, a lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which advocates for stricter immigration limits, voiced similar concerns.

“There doesn’t seem to be any indication that he has any experience at all in immigration,” she told the Times.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, questioned whether the president was just reaching for a Democratic "loyalist and fundraiser."

“This is deeply concerning,” he said, the newspaper reported. “This huge department must have a proven manager with strong relevant law enforcement experience, recognized independence and integrity, who can restore this department to its full capability.”

Johnson, if confirmed by the Senate, would replace Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who left the DHS last month to become president of the University of California system.

Republicans long complained Napolitano, who came to DHS after serving as governor of Arizona, was too lax on some aspects of immigration enforcement.



Johnson's nomination was unexpected, the National Journal said.

In a poll of national security insiders, Johnson's name wasn't even mentioned once in the "other" field for nominees.

Johnson has been in the middle of major issues facing the Obama presidency, from the ethics and legality of drone strikes, to the status of gays in the military — and said the 9/11 terror attacks deeply affected him.

“I am a New Yorker, and I was present in Manhattan on 9/11, which happens to be my birthday, when that bright and beautiful day was – a day something like this – was shattered by the largest terrorist attack on our homeland in history,” he said after his nomination.

“I wandered the streets of New York that day and wondered and asked, 'What can I do?' Since then, I have tried to devote myself to answering that question.”

Related stories:

Obama Picks Former Pentagon Lawyer For DHS

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