WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's choice to be the No. 2 official at the Homeland Security Department is under investigation for his role in helping a company run by a brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, The Associated Press has learned.
Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is being investigated in connection with efforts to secure an international investor visa for a Chinese executive, according to congressional officials briefed on the investigation. The officials spoke only on the condition of anonymity.
Mayorkas was named by Homeland Security's inspector general's office as a target in the investigation involving the foreign investor program run by USCIS, according to an email sent to lawmakers late Monday. The IG's office said, "At this point in our investigation, we do not have any findings of criminal misconduct." The email did not specify any criminal allegations it might be investigating.
White House press secretary Jay Carney referred questions to the inspector general's office, which said that the probe is in its preliminary stage.
The investigation does not appear to have any direct ties to Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, but the connection to her brother Anthony Rodham's company could provide new fodder for Republican super PACs, which have sought to discredit her record. Clinton, considered a possible contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, has recently been maintaining a lower profile.
Mayorkas, a former U.S. attorney in California, has previously come under criticism for his involvement in the commutation by President Bill Clinton of the prison sentence of the son of a Democratic Party donor. Another of Hillary Clinton's brothers, Hugh Rodham, had been hired by the donor to lobby for the commutation. Mayorkas told lawmakers during his 2009 confirmation hearing that "it was a mistake" to talk to the White House about the request.