Republicans to boycott hearing for Obama's Homeland Security pick

Republicans say they'll boycott Thursday's hearing on President Obama's pick for No. 2 at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over allegations he misused his government position to help a Chinese firm get U.S. visas.

Senate Homeland Security Committee ranking member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said it makes no sense to hold a nomination hearing for Alejandro Mayorkas until the DHS inspector general (IG) wraps up its probe into the allegations. Mayorkas is accused of using his current role as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to get the investment visas for a Chinese firm linked to Hillary Clinton's brother and Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic Party chairman and the Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia. 

“You can't go to a hearing on a guy that's under investigation by an IG and, first of all be fair to him, and also ask the questions you need to ask because you don't know what the questions are,” Coburn told The Hill. “Having the hearing may satisfy the White House, but it doesn't move the nomination at all.”

Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) said he's moving forward with Thursday's hearing, regardless.

“The Department of Homeland Security is riddled with vacancies, at very high levels,” Carper told The Hill. “The administration needs to feel a sense of urgency in nominating people to fill these vacancies, and we have an obligation when they do to at least vet them.”

The investors applied for the visas through a company headed by Anthony Rodham. Rodham allegedly sought Mayorkas's help in January, telling him that the visa delay could hurt a maker of energy-efficient vehicles that was co-founded by McAuliffe, a Clinton family friend. 

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