Barack Obama can't even nominate someone to a post without it involving a scandal. Obama's choice to be the number two official at the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas, is currently under investigation for his part in helping a financing company run by Anthony Rodham, the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, secure an international investor visa for a Chinese executive.
According to the Associated Press:
He was named by the DHS Inspector General's Office as a target in an ongoing investigation about the foreign investor program run by USCIS:
According to an email sent to lawmakers Monday evening, the IG's office said that it initially started investigating the EB-5 visa program last year based on a referral from an FBI analyst in the counter intelligence unit in Washington.
In the email detailing the case, the IG's office said "at this point in our investigation, we do not have any findings of criminal misconduct." The email does not specify what criminal violations it is investigating.
White House press secretary Jay Carney referred questions to the DHS inspector general's office, which said the probe is in its preliminary stage and that it doesn't comment on the specifics of investigations.
The EB-5 program allows foreign nationals to get a visa if they invest $500,000 to $1 million in a project or business that creates jobs for U.S. citizens. The amount of the investment required depends on the type of project. Investors who are approved for the program can become legal permanent residents after two years and would later be eligible to become citizens.
If confirmed, Mayorkas would more than like run DHS on an interim basis until a permanent replacement for outgoing Secretary Janet Napolitano would be approved.
Why the investor visa was initially denied is unclear. However, they can be denied for a number of reasons, including a circumstance where the applicant has a criminal background or is considered a threat to national security or public safety.
In fairness to Mayorkas, the Inspector General indicates that "at this point in our investigation, we do not have any findings of criminal misconduct." However, the IG indicated that there are also allegations that other USCIS Office of General Counsel officials obstructed an audit of the visa program by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
This isn't Mayorkas' first rodeo being involved in scandal either. Again the AP continues:
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Mayorkas, a former U.S. attorney in California, previously came under fire for his involvement in the commutation by President Bill Clinton of the prison sentence of the son of a Democratic Party donor. Another of Hillary Clinton's brothers, Hugh Rodham, had been hired by the donor to lobby for the commutation. Mayorkas told lawmakers during his 2009 confirmation hearing that "it was a mistake" to talk to the White House about the request.