Ethics Complaint Filed Against Harry Reid

January 21, 2014

A government watchdog group filed an ethics complaint against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) for allegedly campaigning federal officials to approve visas for foreign Las Vegas investors.

The group, Cause of Action, wrote a letter to Senate Ethics Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) and Vice Chairman Johnny Isakson (R., Ga.) accusing the majority leader of contacting two U.S. Customs and Immigration Services officials, reported:

"Despite the fact that these applications were ineligible for appeal, Sen. Reid’s efforts to lobby USCIS resulted in the reconsideration and approval of these applications, as well as the subsequent securing of millions of dollars in foreign and domestic funds for the (Las Vegas) SLS Hotel & Casino and American Dream Fund EB-5 Regional Center — both of which are major contributors to the Democratic Party," Cause of Action executive director Daniel Epstein wrote.

Mayorkas, recently confirmed by the Senate to be deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, remains under investigation by the DHS Inspector General’s Office over his handling of EB-5 cases. Approved without Republican votes, Mayorkas benefited from Reid’s newly instituted "nuclear option," which effectively blocks filibusters on confirmations.

The EB-5 program enables foreign nationals to receive green cards in exchange for $500,000 to $1-million investments in participating U.S. companies.