Senate Republicans said they would boycott Thursday's hearing on President Barack Obama's nominee for the No. 2 spot at the Department of Homeland Security because of accusations that he misused his government position to help a Chinese company get U.S. visas.
Sen. Tom Coburn, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, said on Wednesday that the hearing for Alejandro Mayorkas should not be held until the department’s inspector general completes its investigation, The Hill reports.
Mayorkas is accused of using his current role as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to get investment visas for a Chinese company linked to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's brother and to Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic Party chairman and Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia.
“You can't go to a hearing on a guy that's under investigation by an IG and, first of all be fair to him, and also ask the questions you need to ask because you don't know what the questions are,” Coburn, who represents Oklahoma, told the Hill. “Having the hearing may satisfy the White House, but it doesn't move the nomination at all.”
But the panel’s Democratic chairman, Tom Carper of Delaware, told the Hill that the hearing would proceed as scheduled.
“The Department of Homeland Security is riddled with vacancies, at very high levels,” Carper said. “The administration needs to feel a sense of urgency in nominating people to fill these vacancies, and we have an obligation when they do to at least vet them.”
The investors applied for the visas through a company headed by Anthony Rodham, the Hill reports. Rodham allegedly sought Mayorkas's help in January, telling him that the visa delay could hurt a maker of energy-efficient vehicles that was co-founded by McAuliffe, who is a Clinton family friend.
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