Homeland Security nominee is linked to visa for Chinese investor

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Gulf Coast Financial Management is one of hundreds of companies across the country that are federally approved regional centers for the program. Regional centers pool investor money for would-be immigrants and file their visa applications.

Gulf Coast is also the finance arm of GreenTech Automotive, a company founded by Terry McAuliffe, a former Clinton fundraiser and Democratic National Committee chairman. Mr. McAuliffe is the Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia.

In a statement, the company said it “was not aware of any investigation by Department of Homeland Security” and that its management “abides by all regulations.” It also said contact with the agency “has been limited to procedural inquiries.”

The office informed FBI agents conducting a pre-nomination background check on Mr. Mayorkas about the open investigation last month, the email states.

Homeland Security vacancies

If Mr. Mayorkas is confirmed as Homeland Security’s deputy secretary, he probably will run the department until a permanent replacement is approved for departing Secretary Janet A. Napolitano.

The Times reported Tuesday that Homeland Security is suffering from a huge number of vacancies. Seven of its 18 positions require Senate confirmation, including four that have been vacant for all of 2013 and one, inspector general, that has been empty for 2 years. Eight other key positions not requiring Senate approval, such as chief information officer and chief privacy officer, also are vacant or filled by temporary officials.

News that the White House pushed ahead with Mr. Mayorkas‘ nomination despite knowing he was under investigation angered some Republicans.

Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, “has asked the committee to allow the inspector general to complete his investigation before moving ahead with the nomination,” his spokesman John Hart told The Times.

A Senate aide told The Times that the administration asked the homeland security committee to expedite the nomination, because if Mr. Mayorkas is not confirmed as deputy secretary before the August recess, he will be unable to act as secretary after Ms. Napolitano steps down in September.

The aide spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters of Senate procedure.

But a statement to The Times from the homeland security committee’s top Democrat said the rush on Mr. Mayorkas, contrary to Republican claims, was not at the administration’s behest.

Sen. Thomas R. Carper, Delaware Democrat and committee chairman, “has long been concerned by executive branch vacancies, including at DHS,” said the statement. “To that end, he has always been working to hold the nomination hearing for Mr. Mayorkas as soon as possible.”

The statement said Mr. Carper learned of the investigation Monday and was weighing whether to proceed with the hearing as planned Thursday.

Visa program abuse?

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About the Author
Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...

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