DHS Inspector General Nominee Gets Warm Welcome in Senate

If approved, John Roth will be the first Senate-confirmed nominee to fill the position in almost three years.

Carper: Aims at "patchwork" regs.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
See more stories about...
Jordain Carney
Jan. 8, 2014, 1:39 p.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
2 days ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Source:
THE LAST ROUND OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS
Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
1 days ago
THE LATEST

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
IT’S ALL ABOUT SECOND PLACE
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
21 hours ago
THE LATEST

Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.

Source:
×