Capitol Solutions from U.S. Rep. David Young

Congressman David Young -- CROPPEDBy U.S. Rep. David Young (R-IA 3)


One of my top priorities in Congress is to provide oversight and demand accountability on behalf of hardworking Iowa taxpayers. We can have policy debates and disagreements, but we must demand better management of our federal government at every level.

One way I do this is through my work on the House Appropriations Committee. My position on this committee allows me to ask top officials from the federal government tough questions. Last week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testified before the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. I asked Secretary Johnson about his top deputy, Alejandro Mayorkas, who had just been highlighted in a Homeland Security Office of Inspector General report. This report claimed that he abused his position to assist three politically powerful people.

Mayorkas broke the rules, rules he himself issued back in 2009, by approving three visa applications. Of the hundreds of visa applications filed, Mayorkas personally advocated for three applications and pushed them through the approval process. The three applications also happened to be cases that former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Hugh Rodham (the brother of Hillary Rodham Clinton) and Nevada Senator Harry Reid asked to be reviewed. I want to believe that Deputy Secretary Mayorkas is smarter than that – he had to know that this was wrong.

The folks up and down the line in the Department of Homeland Security, the professionals who are involved in the processing of these visa applications, raised the red flag with the Office of Inspector General. A shocking number of employees reported that Mayorkas broke protocol and normal procedure, and when the investigation was conducted the Inspector General‘s report concluded the same thing.

This has to stop, Washington needs to live by the same rules that all Americans live by. The double standards have to end – no special rules, no fine print, no excuses.

I asked Secretary Johnson how Mayorkas will earn the confidence and trust back of the whistle blowers who shared this information – he said that a new protocol and directive have been issued and lessons were learned, but no other actions were taken. That is an unacceptable answer.

What are the next steps? I would like to question Mayorkas directly about the allegations. He needs to answer for his actions. This is not over; I will continue to take the Department of Homeland Security to task for this abuse of power.