Suddenly the abuse of a visa program for foreign investors is a problem

Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein asks questions at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday. (Reuters pix via the San Diego Union-Tribune)

Only now that the shoe is on the other foot does there appear to be a problem.

Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Monday that Congress should end the EB-5 visa program that grants visas to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in job-creating projects in the U.S., calling it a “citizenship-for-sale” program, according to news accounts.

Her umbrage was prompted by reports that President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner representatives marketed the visa program to potential Chinese investors over the weekend.


Where was the outrage four years ago when Nevada Sen. Harry Reid twisted arms at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to reverse a decision that was blocking Chinese investors in a Las Vegas casino with ties to Reid’s son Rory?

An ethics complaint was filed against Reid but it was buried in the bureaucracy.

In fact, four days after that complaint was filed, the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to become the second in command at the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas was the one who granted the visas after personally talking to Reid. The vote was 54-41. Had Reid not just nuked the Senate rules of filibuster the nomination would have failed to achieve the previously required 60 votes.

Mayorkas was confirmed despite the fact he was under investigation at the time for expediting certain visa applications for certain applicants despite the rejection of those visas by career staffers.


Reid had made a personal call to Mayorkas, according to the Washington Times, who promised him his agency would take a “fresh look” at the SLS hotel and casino visa request. Soon after that the agency expedited visas for about two dozen foreign SLS investors. The Washington Times reported that Federal Election Commission records show executives for two companies involved in the hotel project had made $127,000 in political donations over the previous three elections, mostly to Democrats.

The Cause of Action ethics complaint said, “Despite the fact that these applications were ineligible for appeal, Senator Reid’s efforts to lobby USCIS resulted in the reconsideration and approval of those applications … Even more troublesome is the fact that Senator Reid’s son, Rory Reid, and his law firm, Lionel, Sawyer & Collins P.C., are legal counsel to the SLS Hotel and Casino.”

Later an ICE agent who tried to block the SLS visas was fired. She refused to accept a $100,000 severance package that would have required non-disclosure and testified before Congress about the abuse of the EB-5 program. She later accepted an undisclosed settlement.

The agent testified that EB-5 visas were approved in as little 16 days and “lacked basic necessary law enforcement” screening.


In a June 2016 story The Daily Caller listed some of the questions left unanswered following the agent being fired:

–Did Reid’s office specifically demand she be fired so the visa application could go through? When (ICE Special Agent Taylor) Johnson was re-assigned to clerical duties was Reid’s office informed?

–When Johnson spoke with Democratic Senate Homeland Security Committee staffers in preparation for her June 2015 testimony at a whistleblowers hearing they coerced her into not fingering Reid. They said mentioning him would violate the Hatch Act, Johnson later told this reporter.

The Hatch Act, of course, limits overt political activities by federal employees, not congressional testimony by whistleblowers.  Who authorized the staffers to employ such obvious falsehoods to coerce Johnson into silence?

The political kneecapping certainly worked. In-remarks, Johnson spoke of suffering retaliation for her opposition to the EB-5 program but left Reid’s name out of it.

–DHS fired Johnson in February 2016 after she declined a $100,000 severance package with a confidentiality agreement that would have allowed her to leave the agency with a clean work record. Who at DHS thought it would be a good use of taxpayer money to pay Johnson not to talk publicly about something she had already testified before Congress?

None of that has been answered.

Back then nothing could be heard from Democrats over the chirping of crickets, but now Feinstein ruminates that it is  “crystal clear that the EB-5 regional center program presents a stark conflict of interest for the Trump White House.”

Reid got a pass and a coverup, but Trump is not a fellow Democrat.

Congressional testimony of Johnson in 2015:



18 comments on “Suddenly the abuse of a visa program for foreign investors is a problem

  1. robertleebeers says:

    Imagine the horror if lying while working for or elected to government office was an imprisonable offense, no exceptions, no deals.

  2. deleted says:

    Thomas really? So many violations of so many ethical, moral, and conflict of interests by orange ball and it’s time again to attack Harry Reid and throw in Diane Feinstein?

    Nothing about Trump’s son in law selling real estate to the Chinese, or the State Department hawking Ivankas cheap trinkets? Nothing about Trunp increasing membership prices to Mara Lago or raising rates at his Hotels and golf courses, or letting foreign heads of state say at his hotels gratis?

    Isn’t it time to do an article about the Emolluments Clause? I mean you’re a Constitutionalist sort of guy right?


  3. Just pointing out the double standard that you keep ignoring.

  4. deleted says:

    Ok. A lot of column fodder for you in this administration though that you seem to ignore.

    Why is that?

  5. Because everyone else is doing it. Why be an echo?

  6. Steve says:

    In Obsessing Over Trump, the Media Ignore What Matters More
    Twenty-four key security issues

    “As a result, all those editors, reporters, columnists and talking heads who characterize their labors as “now more important than ever” ill-serve the public they profess to inform and enlighten. Rather than clearing the air, they befog it further. If anything, the media’s current obsession with Trump — his every utterance or tweet treated as “breaking news!” — just provides one additional excuse for highlighting trivia, while slighting issues that deserve far more attention than they currently receive.”

    Things that really matter slide on by as though we who pay for them shouldn’t care.
    Notably, partisanship doesn’t help much either.

  7. deleted says:

    Thomas, that’s a question I’ve asked myself often when I read, usually here, that Nevada’s “own” AG files an action joining many other AGs making the same claim.

    Maybe you can explain how being an echo is pointless cause everyone else is doing it?

    Plus, it would save the state some taxpayer dollars which I know would make you happy.

  8. Steve says:

    Liberals unite but Conservatives “echo”

    Patrick is so entertaining.

  9. Rincon says:

    You have to be dead above the neck to miss the fact that railing against nearly everything done by either Hillary or the Obama Administration was the preferred activity in this space for more than 8 years and now, Trump can do no wrong. Partisan lap dogs.

  10. Steve says:

    You really need to read more of this blog, Rincon.

    Trump is no favorite of it’s owner. Nor is he one of my fav’s.

    Neither is AG Laxalt, he didn’t have my vote. Ross Miller did.

  11. deleted says:

    Rincon it ought to be obvious to you by now, for all the talk of “principles” by the conservatives who post here, that these have become mere words without meaning and the guiding “principle” for them is party politics.

    I understand that Thomas has a right to publish here whatever he wants, and whenever he wants; let’s face it this is “his” place after all, and we’re just guests, but I don’t think it’s inappropriate to point out, even his particular hypocrisy when it comes to the subjects he writes about and he’s not blind to it and that is what it is. BUT, for some of the regulars here, this cry of “principles” constantly droned about on these pages can’t go unchallenged and thankfully there are enough of us here, you and me especially, that seem willing to do that.

    Makes for interesting discourse I mean, what good is a world where everyone agrees with you all the time. That would no fun at all.

    Keep up the good work I say.

  12. Steve says:

    Oh there it is…..Liberals unite but Conservatives “echo”

    Patrick is a dittohead.
    Who knew?

  13. deleted says:

    So, “conservatives” in Oklahoma have figured out a way to close a $900 MILLION budget “hole”; pick up EVERY student in the state, turn them over to ICE, and let them prove they’re citizens

    Can any “conservative” here point out the Constitutional provision granting the gov’ment that right?

    Must have missed that and maybe abob a beers could underline the part that says it and send it to me.

    Just wow!

    I fear for our republic.

  14. Steve says:

    Washington Post

    “Several fellow Republicans made a point of distancing themselves from Ritze’s suggestion for reporting children to ICE. Among them was Rep. Chuck Strohm, the co-chairman of the Republican Platform Caucus, who said deporting students “is not a position that we support,” according to the AP.

    “This caught many of us by surprise, because that’s not the direction that we talked about,” he added.

    Oklahoma schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, also a Republican, told the AP that Ritze’s proposal was “utterly shameful.”

    “There is no benefit to floating outrageous ideas that seek to punish kids,” she said.”

    One guy does not make for “conservatives” in Oklahoma, Patrick. You are using that “broad” brush again you prejudiced id10t

  15. deleted says:


    Anyone know how many “conservative republicans it takes to make a “consortium”?

    “A consortium of conservative Republicans say they’ve identified a billion dollars worth of savings and new revenue that could fill the state budget hole and provide teachers raises, without raising taxes.”


    In this case it’s 22.

  16. deleted says:

    By the way that “conservative consortium” made of of 22 legislators, constitutes near 20% of the current Republican supermajority in the Oklahoma legislature.

    Which number of course doesn’t necessarily include all “conservative republicans” in that legislature who support rounding up kids and sending them to ICE cause they don’t speak English too good.

    I fear for our republic.

  17. Steve says:

    One guiy proposed the kids ice thing you are conflating into “A consortium of conservative Republicans”……..
    60 million isn’t a billion you id10t

    Since you love spin and mole hills, have fun with this, you ignorant nivit.

    “College lacrosse team replaces warm-up music with Trump talk
    From Associated Press
    May 11, 2017 8:24 AM EST
    GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (AP) — A suburban New York college lacrosse team has replaced its warm-up music with a recording of a portion of a speech by President Donald Trump.

    An Instagram video of the Adelphi University team was posted Wednesday showing players running onto the field at the conclusion of an excerpt of a Trump speech that includes his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

    Newsday ( reports Adelphi athletic director Danny McCabe says in a statement the pre-game music is chosen as a team. It was approved because it did not contain vulgarity or inappropriate subject matter.

    The team finished the regular season with a 14-3 record. It begins the NCAA Division II playoffs against Pace on Saturday.

    Adelphi is a private university on Long Island.

    The Barstool Sports website was the first to report the Instagram video.”

  18. deleted says:

    I wonder why Nevada’s “own” bastard AG doesn’t join this lawsuit?

    So well known as he is for his “Constitutionalsm”

    “– A part-owner of several New York City hotels and restaurants has joined a lawsuit accusing Trump of has violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bars federal officials from taking payments from foreign governments. David A. Fahrenthold reports: “Eric Goode is a part-owner of four boutique hotels and three restaurants in Manhattan. On Wednesday, he officially joined a lawsuit that was filed just days after Trump’s inauguration by a watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The lawsuit alleges that Trump is in violation of the Constitution because his business continues to accept payment for hotel rooms, banquet halls and food from foreign states and state-owned businesses. Although Trump has said that he no longer has day-to-day control of the Trump Organization — having passed it to his sons Donald Jr. and Eric — documents show that Trump remains the beneficiary of his businesses, and he can legally withdraw money from them at any time.”

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