But Chairman Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) refused, saying in a statement that he would not allow “rumor, speculation, and innuendo to rule the day.” Carper said Mayorkas had never been notified that he was the subject of a probe.
“The Office of Inspector General apparently does not have any ‘preliminary findings’ regarding Mr. Mayorkas,” Carper said in prepared remarks before the hearing. “In fact . . . the Office of Inspector General has found no wrongdoing by Mr. Mayorkas.”
Alejandro Mayorkas, nominated to be the deputy secretary of homeland security, denied allegations that gave improper help to a politically connected technology firm.
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If confirmed as second-in-command at DHS, Mayorkas would temporarily lead the department after the scheduled departure of Secretary Janet Napolitano in early September.
The inspector general’s probe centers on the EB-5 visa program, which permits foreign nationals to enter the United States if they agree to invest $500,000 to $1 million to create U.S. jobs. The IG launched the inquiry last year on a tip from an FBI counterintelligence analyst concerned about the program, which is dominated by applicants from China, according to congressional aides.
E-mails show that Mayorkas’s assistance was sought in January by Rodham, who runs Gulf Coast Funds Management of McLean, which pools money from foreign citizens who want to invest in U.S. businesses as part of the EB-5 program.
Rodham and other Gulf Coast officials wrote to Mayorkas and other DHS officials asking for help with delays that they said were harming GreenTech Automotive, which was co-founded by McAuliffe. McAuliffe quietly resigned as chairman of the company sometime before Dec. 1.
Critics have previously raised questions about GreenTech’s use of the visa program. When the company was considering putting a factory in Virginia, a state economic-development official wrote to a colleague that she worried the venture was “a visa-for-sale scheme with potential national security implications.”
In his testimony Thursday, Mayorkas called the EB-5 program “controversial and extraordinarily complex,” noting that he receives more complaints about it than any other program he administers.
But Mayorkas said no one got special treatment. “We do what the laws and the facts require and nothing more,” he said.