Despite IG Report of Political Cronyism, DHS Deputy Secretary Gets Vote of Confidence

Jeffdunetz | March 26, 2015
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Two days after the department’s Inspector General lambasted Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for showing favoritism toward high-profile Democrats, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said Mayorkas would not lose his job for what the Inspector General described as ethical violations. 

Secretary Johnson's comments came after DHS Inspector John Roth presented his report to the House Homeland Security Committee. As outlined by Fox News, the accusations include:

In at least one case, Inspector General John Roth said, the intervention by DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was "unprecedented."

Roth testified at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing, two days after he released a 99-page detailing how Mayorkas -- while he was head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services -- allegedly used his position to help politically connected projects.

Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said the roster of involved individuals "reads like an A-list of political powerhouses" -- this included Hillary Clinton's brother Anthony Rodham, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. 

Roth testified that Mayorkas' actions created "significant resentment" among staffers at the agency who got the impression Mayorkas was showing "favoritism and special access."

He also made clear that Mayorkas' involvement was critical in how the cases turned out.

"But for Mr. Mayorkas' intervention, the matter would have been decided differently" in three key cases, he testified.

Roth said in his report that more than 15 whistleblowers spoke with his investigators about Mayorkas. The report concluded that in the three cases Mayorkas went "outside of the normal ... process, and intervened with the career USCIS staff in ways that benefited" the groups seeking his help. 

The Washington Times reports that, despite the incriminating report, the DHS Secretary said Mr. Mayorkis will not be disciplined because he did nothing wrong:

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Thursday he won’t fire his deputy despite a scathing internal report that found Alejandro Mayorkas helped several high-profile Democrats get better treatment from an immigration agency.

Mr. Johnson acknowledged he has work to do to rebuild trust among the many career staff whistleblowers who said Mr. Mayorkas was playing politics with the immigration system, but insisted Mr. Mayorkas himself did nothing wrong in responding to the requests.

“He has been a valuable member of the team, definitely value added, and it would be a big loss to the men and women of our department if he were not full time, fully engaged, occupying his job,” Mr. Johnson said.

While Mr. Mayorkas' actions were not illegal, according to the congressional testimony given by Inspector General Roth, they did violate the organization's ethics policy:

Asked directly by lawmakers if Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had violated the ethics policy he had put in place, Inspector General John Roth said yes.

"We believe that policy was not followed," Roth said.