Dirty Harry Strikes Again
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has run interference for Barack Obama for years. He has also done the same for the 1% when he can benefit. He has done so again by using his power to force the Department of Homeland Security to do his bidding to relax rules for foreigners who planned to invest in a Nevada casino project.
John Solomon and David Sherfinski report for the Washington Times:
The Obama administration overruled career Homeland Security officials and expedited visa applications for about two dozen foreign investors for a politically connected Las Vegas casino hotel after repeated pressure from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his staff, according to internal government documents obtained by The Washington Times.
The move to overturn what is normally a non-appealable visa decision came despite concerns about "suspicious financial activity" involving some of the visa applicants from Asia, and it ultimately benefited several companies whose executives have donated heavily in recent years to Democrats, the documents show. It also ensnared Mr. Obama's current nominee to be the No. 2 Homeland Security official, Alejandro "Ali" Mayorkas, whose appointment is to be reviewed by the Senate on Wednesday.
The intervention from Mr. Reid's staff was so intense at one point a year ago that a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) official reported that it prompted a phone shouting match, turning a normally bureaucratic review process inside the Homeland Security Department into a politically charged drama that worried career officials.
"This one is going to be a major headache for us all because Sen. Reid's office/staff is pushing hard and I just had a long yelling match on the phone," USCIS Legislative Affairs official Miguel "Mike" Rodriguez warned in a Dec. 5, 2012, email to Homeland Security Department officials.
Mayorkas was the official who complied with Reid's unusual request. He has also been implicated in special favors granted to the failed electric car company that Terry McAuliffe, a top Democratic fundraiser and now the governor-elect of Virginia, backed.
The granting of this special favor for Reid and his casino friends enraged career officials at the Department of Homeland Security. Executives at the two main companies involved in the project donated at least $127,000 to political causes over the last three elections, mostly to Democrats.
There is a backlog of over 7000 requests for special visas to allow foreigners to come to America; due to Reid's push, the investors in the casino project not only jumped to the head of the line but escaped the careful scrutiny that other potential visitors endure. The project got its investment and the vastly wealthy pal of Reid's (Sam Nazarian) was further enriched.
In Vegas, Reid wins every time.
Of course, Reid himself has become enriched by favors done by him and reciprocated by juicy real estate deals unavailable to the 99% (see How Did Harry Reid Get Rich?).