The second in command at Homeland Security is accused of intervening in cases that involve connections to political insiders “in unprecedented ways,” acceding to a report by the department’s watchdog.
The Office of Inspector General report said Alejandro Mayorkas created an “appearance of favoritism” while head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services by giving special treatment in a program for wealthy foreigners to get visas, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Among those who benefited from Mayorkas’ interventions were Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and a brother of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The report tallied more than 15 people who blew the whistle on Mayorkas for allegedly giving special treatment to people with connections.
In a response to the report, Mayorkas defended his actions.
“I did so not because I wanted to but because I needed to,” Mayorkas wrote. “It was not easy or pleasant to hear complaints of how poorly our agency was performing … and how incompetent we were in the performance of some of our work.”
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said he maintains “full confidence” in Mayorkas.