JULY 24, 2013
More than a decade after being shamefully ousted as a top federal prosecutor for orchestrating the pardon of a big-time drug dealer, President Obama’s pick as the No. 2 official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is embroiled in another scandal involving the Clintons.
Alejandro Mayorkas, Obama’s director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is under fire for reportedly abusing his power to obtain U.S. visas for shady Chinese investors in a company run by none other than Hillary Clinton’s brother. Mayorkas intervened after his own agency denied the application and rejected an appeal, according to news reports.
The scandal broke because Obama recently picked Mayorkas to be second-in-command at DHS and the media obtained documents confirming that Mayorkas is named by the DHS Inspector General’s Office as a target in a probe involving the foreign investor program, known as EB-5, run by USCIS. Making matters worse, one of the visas sought by Hillary’s brother (Anthony Rodham) was for the vice president of a Chinese telecommunications firm that’s been investigated by Congress for its ties to China’s intelligence agencies.
The entire plot is atrocious enough, but if Mayorkas helped this particular Chinese telecom guru—no doubt a communist—obtain a U.S. visa, elevating him to be in charge of national security would be downright obscene. Not surprisingly, the White House and DHS, which oversees USCIS, have refused to comment. However, the news outlet that originally broke the story predicts the scandal “has the potential to become a political headache” for Hillary Clinton.
Mayorkas and the Clintons go back years. Mayorkas served as Bill Clinton’s U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California from 1998 to 2001 and resigned in shame after orchestrating the pardon of a major league drug trafficker. As U.S. Attorney Mayorkas was largely responsible for freeing the drug dealer serving a 15-year prison sentence for operating sophisticated cocaine rings that stretched from California to Minnesota.
The convicted drug dealer, Carlos Vignali, is the son of a wealthy political donor (Horacio Vignali) who convinced influential community leaders—mostly recipients of his generous contributions—to advocate for his son’s pardon. Mayorkas’ intervention was the most crucial and by far carried the most weight, Clinton officials later revealed. It also outraged federal prosecutors in Minneapolis, where Vignali was convicted for trying to sell 800 pounds of cocaine. After receiving numerous inquiries from Mayorkas about the case, the Minneapolis federal prosecutors wrote the Justice Department strongly opposing Vignali’s commutation but they were ignored.
A congressional investigation into Clinton’s last-minute pardons blasts Mayorkas for intervening on behalf of Vignali, pointing out that senior law enforcement and political officials should have been precluded from supporting a commutation for such a criminal. Mayorkas resigned in disgrace and went into private practice at a big Los Angeles law firm until Obama named him USCIS director in 2009. The White House announcement conveniently omits his role in freeing a convicted drug dealer, instead touting Mayorkas as a prosecutor of public corruption, organized crime and civil rights violations.
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