Politics

Senate Ethics Committee: We Lost Complaint On Harry Reid And Obama Admin Getting Visas For Clients

The Democrat-controlled Senate Select Committee on Ethics said that it never received a complaint pertaining to Democratic Sen. Harry Reid and the Obama administration’s efforts to approve visas for certain investors, according to a government watchdog group, despite previously confirming that it received the complaint — and saying that it opened an investigation.

The nonprofit government accountability organization Cause of Action sent the ethics committee, chaired by Democratic California Sen. Barbara Boxer, a recent letter asking for follow-up on its Dec. 16, 2013 complaint, which detailed Reid’s ex parte communications with then-U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas, who now serves as deputy secretary in the Department of Homeland Security.

Cause of Action said that Reid violated Rule 43 of the U.S. Senate Code of Official Conduct because his conversations with Mayorkas led to approval of EB-5 visas for investors represented by Reid’s lawyer son, Rory Reid.

Senate Ethics Committee Chief Counsel and Staff Director John C. Sassaman called Cause of Action to state over the phone that the committee “never received” the complaint, according to Cause of Action executive director Dan Epstein.

But Cause of Action received a signed returned receipt from the Senate mail dated Dec. 20, 2013, according to the organization.

And when The Washington Times wanted comment for a Jan. 21, 2014 report on the complaint, a “spokesman for the ethics committee and Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, said they couldn’t comment on the details of any investigation.”

Cause of Action said that Senate employees viewed the letter “several times” on its organization website, according to Google Analytics.

Follow Patrick on Twitter