Senators from both sides of the aisle lauded President Obama’s nominee to be the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general — a post that has been mired by controversy in recent years.
John Roth, who oversees the Food and Drug Administration’s office of criminal investigations, testified before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday, in what was largely a friendly hearing.
“I’ve said to some of our staff here”¦ if you are as good as an IG as you are as a witness, we could be in pretty good hands,” said Chairman Tom Carper, D-Md., toward the end of the hearing.
If confirmed — a move senators in both parties predicted — Roth would be the first Senate-confirmed inspector general the department has had in almost three years. Senators gave Roth a laundry list of issues they would like him to focus on including border security, information technology, and case backlog.
Charles Edwards, the previous acting inspector general, stepped down in December. Edwards was under investigation by auditors, and faced allegations of abuse of power, withholding documents, misspending of funds, nepotism, and making his staff do his homework for his Ph.D.
But Edwards hasn’t been the only controversial figure within the department. If confirmed, Roth will oversee an investigation into Alejandro Mayorkas, the deputy secretary at DHS. Mayorkas is being investigated in connection to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s EB-5 program. EB-5 visas are given to investors who invest at minimum between $500,000 and $1 million in a business.
Congressional staffers told the Associated Press last year that investigators are examining what, if any, role Mayorkas had in helping former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s brother, Anthony Rodham, get an investor visa for a Chinese executive, despite previous rejections.
Senators touched on that investigation during their comments to Roth.
“In the IG’s communications with Congress in what circumstances would it be appropriate to share informations with members or staff of one party, but not the other,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., asked, referencing the Mayorkas investigation. In that case, whistleblowers contacted the committee’s minority staff, but not the majority staff.
“The minute you try to play ball with one side or the other”¦ That means an immediate loss of credibility,” McCaskill added.
The Department of Homeland Security has been plagued by low morale and leadership vacancies, and multiple senators classified the department as something of a work in progress. Roth said he was “under no illusions” about the myriad of challenges he’ll face if confirmed.
DHS ranked last in overall satisfaction amongst 19 large federal agencies, according to a report released late last year.
- 1 One Nation, Divisible By Demography and Ideology
- 2 Accepting Nod, Hillary Clinton Pairs Unifying Tone With Liberal Policies
- 3 Smart Ideas, Convention Edition: We’re All Michael Bloombergs Now
- 4 How Hillary Clinton Would Handle the Supreme Court
- 5 Gary Johnson Is Now CEO of a Marijuana Company. And He Wants to Run for President.
What We're Following See More »
"Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson told CNN Thursday that Mitt Romney was considering endorsing him for president this fall." He said the two had recently spoken. Johnson's running mate, Bill Weld, agreed that they have a good chance of winning the endorsement, especially if they meet the 15% polling threshold for participating in the presidential debates.
"It is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president," said Hillary Clinton in becoming the first woman to accept a nomination for president from a major party. Clinton gave a wide-ranging address, both criticizing Donald Trump and speaking of what she has done in the past and hopes to do in the future. "He's taken the Republican party a long way, from morning in America to midnight in America," Clinton said of Trump. However, most of her speech focused instead on the work she has done and the work she hopes to do as president. "I will be a president of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving, the successful," she said. "For those who vote for me and for those who don't. For all Americans together."
Supporters of Bernie Sanders promised to walk out, turn their backs, or disrupt Hillary Clinton's speech tonight, and they made good immediately, with an outburst almost as soon as Clinton began her speech. But her supporters, armed with a handy counter-chant cheat sheet distributed by the campaign, immediately began drowning them out with chants of "Hillary, Hillary!"
If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."
Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."