Speaking of conflict of interest, Senator M. Michael Rounds has some interesting political choices ahead relating to the EB-5 program.
Yesterday, the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security reported that Deputy DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas generally ran the EB-5 visa investment program with integrity but intervened in three matters in a way that “created an appearance of favoritism and special access.” Whom was Mayorkas helping?
The DHS IG report specifically focused on allegations of special treatment afforded to a Las Vegas casino project championed by Sen. Harry Reid, then the Senate majority leader, and an electric car enterprise led by Terry McAuliffe, who is now Virginia governor, and involving Anthony Rodham, the brother of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [Matthew Mosk and Brian Ross, “Top Homeland Official Alejandro Majorkas Accused of Political Favoritism,” ABC News, 2015.03.24].
The Senate Minority Leader and the presumptive Democratic nominee for President—holy cow! If I were a Republican hack, I wouldn’t be moaning that things are “kind of slow politically at the moment.” I’d be bombshelling this story, demanding Reid answer questions (remember, Reid pushed the appointment of Mayorkas to DHS over a boycott by Republicans unhappy about this EB-5 story) and blasting Democrats for inviting another round of Clinton corruption into the White House.
But so far, Senator Rounds isn’t going there. he’s too busy arguing that banks shouldn’t face as much oversight of their lending. (yes, Mike Rounds’s irony throttle is stuck wide open.)
Creating further awkward moments for Senator Rounds is the expiration of the EB-5 statutes this year. A bipartisan team of Congressmen led by Colorado Rep. Jared Polis and Nevada Republican Rep. Mark Amodei has proposed HR 616, which would reauthorize and make permanent EB-5. I can’t wait to hear Senator Rounds’s speech on that bill.
Related Reading: See Todd Epp’s Sunshine Week summary of the mysteries that remain surrounding South Dakota’s EB-5 program.