Executive Sessionby Former Senator Mary L. Landrieu
Posted on 2013-12-20
LANDRIEU. It is unfortunate that this situation has occurred.
What is most unfortunate is it casts a poor light on a very
extraordinary individual, someone who I have had the privilege to know
very well for the last several years. It pains me and many Members of
this body who know Ali Mayorkas personally and know of his
extraordinary service to the United States of America to date that his
name would be dragged through the mud like this.
I know the Senator from Oklahoma has been sincere in many of his efforts to streamline our government, to make it more efficient. While there have been individuals on the other side who have used the seats they have been privileged to gain in not the most admirable way, he is not one of them. I do not have any poor feelings or disappointment in him personally.
I think what has happened is a complete breakdown of trust on all sides, which has caused very extraordinary measures to be taken, because from our perspective, from my perspective, if a candidate such as this who has already been confirmed twice by the Senate, who served our country already as a U.S. attorney with the highest credentials prosecuting criminal cases and criminal activity that Senator Coburn and Senator Carper have spent a career themselves pushing back so our government can be better, more transparent, and more honest, then I don't know where we go from here. I truly don't.
I do know this gentleman was willing to meet with anyone to try to clear up [[Page S9074]] any misinformation. In fact, several Republicans, at my request--my specific personal request--met with him and came away with amazing opinions, high opinions of him when they asked him questions and he answered.
There is a lot of evidence to suggest the ``investigation'' against him is bogus, is being conducted for inappropriate reasons. Sometimes these things happen in government, and it is our job to sort through.
Senator Carper as chairman--I know because I serve on the committee as well--tried for months and months to get meetings to try to clear this up. We couldn't move forward in any way.
Should this man's name be ruined because there is not cooperation in the Senate for the first time in many decades? I have been here almost 20 years. I have never seen it like this and it is not this gentleman's fault.
I know his wife. I know his two girls. They have been to my office. I know his family. I have met his brothers. This is very painful to his family, and it is just not responsible.
It is not only about Director Mayorkas--Ali Mayorkas and his family, the Mayorkas family--it is about thousands of good people out there who would love to serve in this government despite the fact that many people on the other side think it is the worst thing ever created in the history of man. That is their view. It happens to be one of the greatest creations of man, with divine help, but we cannot convince them of that.
There are thousands of people who would want to serve in our government. But after listening to speeches that Mr. Coburn just gave or Mr. Grassley, the Senator from Iowa, or the Senator from Oklahoma or others, who would want to put their families through this? No one.
Just because there is a group of people over there who despise the government--for whatever reason, I don't know--they shouldn't take their anger out on the individuals trying to make it better and fix what is broken. The EB-5 Program was broken way before Director Mayorkas had the responsibility to try to fix it, and he is only one human being. We all have the responsibility to fix this program.
To blame him and to drag his family through this after an extraordinary career prosecuting crime, I understand--and Senator Carper will speak more to this--but when the people he worked with in the past needed someone to head something such as the integrity committee, they would choose him quite often. He has run the integrity committees in places where he has worked. That is a great honor.
In conclusion, now he comes up in one of the most important departments of the whole government, Homeland Security--which Tom Carper authorizes as chair, and I fund to the best of my ability, with all sorts of attacks to our budget, to try to provide resources to this agency--and this gentleman whom we should be thanking every day for wanting to step up and take this job has to be dragged through this.
I make no apologies for the rules changes that made this possible. I am sorry we were unable to convince people on the other side of his outstanding integrity and that the investigation against him is bogus, personal, and should be dismissed. The IG who was in charge of it has resigned under a cloud. That doesn't seem to make any difference to them.
I am proud to put my name and my vote behind this nominee who I know will do an exceedingly fabulous job for this country in a very important role we need.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.