When Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas appeared on The Today Show on May 12th – the same day Title 42 ended – he was in for a rude reception. Anchor Savannah Guthrie asked about the record number of crossings and why the chaos was continuing. Mayorkas, as usual, blamed Congress.
She then asked about migrants being released into the country with no court date and no way to track them and that a Florida Judge had quickly blocked the plan. He attacked the Judge, saying it was harmful, but 23 States have now joined Florida to block it and an appeals court has now upheld Florida’s decision.
Guthrie then asked if Biden bore any responsibility when he said at a Democratic debate in 2019 that, “we’re a nation that says if you want to flee and you’re facing oppression, you should come.” Mayorkas then blamed smugglers and once again, the Congress.
As the number of migrants continue to surge across the border, there has been a continuing effort to impeach Mayorkas. The House Homeland Security Committee has begun hearings on Mayorkas that might lead to impeachment. At the first hearing, former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott said that Mayorkas’ agenda was to “find new ways to let more migrants into the U.S.,” and Former Acting Homeland Director Chad Wolf added that “it was by design.”
In reality, his career has long been marred by scandal and corruption. In 2015, the Homeland Security Inspector General found then Deputy Director Mayorkas had showed “favoritism and special access” involving visas and green cards when he was Director of Citizenship and Immigration from 2009 to 2013. Some of those receiving special treatment were then-Nevada Senator Harry Reid, then-Virginia Governor Terry McCauliffe and Hillary Clinton’s brother Tony Rodham.
Even worse, fifteen whistleblowers reported that Mayorkas’ loose standards caused people who committed fraud and money laundering to receive visas. The 99-page report eviscerated Mayorkas, saying he had caused “deep resentment” among the staff, who felt “uncomfortable and pressured” to comply with his wishes, and that Mayorkas had “lowered the morale” of the department.
Mayorkas had been avoiding the press after the report’s release in 2015, and when approached by ABC News, hid behind security and fled. The devastating report from the IG should have ended Mayorkas’ career.
But six years later, before his inaugural in January 2021, president-elect Biden nominated two crucial cabinet members: Xavier Beccera for Health and Human Services and Alejandro Mayorkas for Homeland Security, and both of their pasts made them uniquely unqualified to ever serve the public again in any capacity because they had helped a major cocaine trafficker be released from prison.
In Bill Clinton’s final days in the White House 20 years earlier, his office became a flea market and clearing house for terrorists, drug dealers, con artists and other of societies miscreants and criminals to receive clemencies and pardons, most notably fugitive billionaire and tax cheat Marc Rich.
Members of the Clinton family would cash in, including Hillary’s brother Tony Rodham, who would receive 240 thousand dollars from two carnival promoters who were convicted of bank fraud, and most notably, her brother Hugh-who would be paid as we shall see-over 400 thousand dollars for his unholy efforts. Hillary herself was involved months earlier with the notorious FALN terrorist pardons, in a blatant attempt to try and secure the substantial Puerto Rican vote in New York during her 2000 Senate campaign. But by 2001, pardon and clemency handouts were a no-holds barred circus. One of them became as noteworthy as the FALN and Rich pardons.
A few years earlier on December 20, 1993, a grand jury in Minneapolis issued a 34-count indictment against Carlos Vignali, Jr. and 29 others in the largest drug investigation in Minnesota history. Vignali, born in 1971, was the ringleader and the group had shipped hundreds of pounds of cocaine from California to Minnesota to be made into crack.
The evidence was overwhelming. On December 12, 1994, all but one of the defendants were convicted or pled guilty. Vignali was convicted of three counts of conspiracy and cocaine distribution and acquitted on a fourth count, and had been caught on audiotape, coming across as a boastful bully. Vignali remained uncooperative and unrepentant.
He was also a fledging rapper calling himself “C-Low” with Brownside, an Hispanic group formed by Eazy-E, and spent some of his proceeds at the tables in Las Vegas with his father, who had set up Carlos in an exclusive condo. The pre-sentencing report had recommended 12-15 years, and on July 17, 1995, Judge David Doty sentenced him to the latter.
His father, Carlos “Horacio” Vignali, Sr., born in 1946, was a wealthy L.A. area real estate owner and had hosted fundraisers and donated to several local political figures. Soon after the conviction of his son, he filed an appeal, and began contacting his political friends to write letters that falsely claimed that Carlos had no criminal record.
But a House Committee investigating the Clinton pardons in 2002 found that Vignali had two prior convictions and two arrests. In 1989, Vignali had been convicted and fined for fighting in a public place, and later for vandalism. He’d also been arrested for reckless driving and later for assaulting a girlfriend. Vignali had also admitted being involved with two different gangs.
After the appeal was unanimously defeated in appellate court, Horacio decided to try for executive clemency with the Clinton White House.
He contacted then-L.A. area Congressman Xavier Becerra, whom he had donated 16 thousand dollars to in three of Becerra’s campaigns. Even though neither of the Vignali’s had resided in his district, Becerra then called Alejandro Mayorkas, who was U.S. Attorney for Central California in Los Angeles, who claimed the sentence was too harsh.
Becerra then contacted Pardon Attorney Roger Adams at the Justice Department and Meredith Cabe at the White House (legal) Counsel Office. Cabe would later say he was pushing for clemency for Vignali, but Becerra later claimed he never explicitly supported clemency for Vignali but had wanted a “review” of the case.
On November 21, 2000, Becerra sent a letter to Bill Clinton, who had less than two months remaining in office. He falsely claimed that Vignali had no previous criminal record, was innocent, and how much it had affected his parents, whom he both knew.
Meanwhile, Mayorkas twice contacted Minnesota U.S. Attorney Todd Jones, who had originally tried Vignali. During the first contact, Jones warned Mayorkas that Vignali was “a major player,” and “don’t go there,” and that Vignali was “bad news.”
Mayorkas also twice contacted Andrew Dunne, who worked with Jones as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Mayorkas hoped that Jones’ office would actually lobby for clemency for Vignali, but Dunne flat out rejected it, and thought the calls were “highly unusual.”
Mayorkas actually met the elder Vignali and had conversations about clemency for his son. Vignali also brought up executive clemency and asked if Mayorkas would call the White House.
Before Mayorkas made the second call to Jones, he called the Pardon Attorney’s Office and claimed that an unidentified female staffer said it was alright even if the case was not in his jurisdiction, and he claimed he only wanted to vouch for the defendant’s father.
Then Mayorkas made the second call to prosecutor Jones, telling him of his intent to call the White House. Jones once again told Mayorkas he opposed clemency. After the call, Jones was troubled by the lobbying of Mayorkas, because someone from another jurisdiction who had not prosecuted the case was trying to recommend clemency.
In spite of Jones second stern warning, Mayorkas called White House Counsel Bruce Lindsey, who was very close to the Clintons, and then received a return call from Meredith Cabe and Eric Angel, who worked with Lindsey on pardons. Mayorkas told them he was not that familiar with the case and knew his parents well, but afterward would claim he did not recommend clemency. Cabe would later say that Mayorkas had definitely supported clemency. So did Lindsey and White House Chief of Staff John Podesta.
Mayorkas had laid the groundwork for clemency, but there was another major player that Horacio Vignali had reached out to. He had known Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca since 1991. Vignali raised or had contributed a stunning total of over 200 thousand dollars to Baca’s campaigns.
Vignali asked Baca to write Clinton a letter, and he also told Baca that Hillary’s brother Hugh Rodham was helping Carlos receive clemency. Vignali had paid Hugh four thousand dollars, and then another 200 thousand if Carlos was pardoned. Baca at first refused to write a letter, but decided to write one that would praise Horacio and make no mention of Carlos. The senior Vignali didn’t think it would help, and Baca did not send it.
Baca then received a call from Hugh Rodham, but Baca later said he told Rodham he had reservations. Baca then received a call from Dawn Woolen, assistant to Lindsey, and she asked Baca what he thought of Horacio, and Baca spoke favorably. She then asked if Bill Clinton should pardon Carlos. Baca later claimed he didn’t know enough about the case and that it was up to Clinton. Woolen, however said that Baca supported a commutation but did not want to write it in a letter.
White House staff later claimed that Mayorkas and Baca had an impact, even though both men attempted to use the elder Vignali as a backdoor way to pardon Carlos.
Meanwhile, Bruce Lindsey was the point man at the White House for Horacio. He falsely told Lindsey that Vignali was innocent and had no previous criminal record. He mentioned Mayorkas and Baca supported clemency as well as the prosecutor, Todd Jones in Minnesota. However, Jones and his two assistant prosecutors, Andrew Dunne and Denise Reilly both strongly opposed clemency, as did Judge David Doty, who had sentenced Vignali.
But the White House staff, including Lindsey, Cabe and Angel, would soon find out the truth. Pardon Attorney Roger Adams issued a strong report denying clemency, noting Vignali was not a first-time offender, was the leader of the cocaine ring, and that the prosecutors and Judge Doty had strongly opposed any pardon. When his report was sent to the White House, it did not contain Deputy Attorney General Holder’s signature, which would have had much more influence. Adams signed the report opposing clemency for Vignali instead of Holder, thinking the Justice Department should be on record opposing a pardon.
Adams concluded his report writing that “…I recommend that you deny his (Vignali’s) petition.”
Even after learning the truth about Carlos Vignali’s history, the staff later claimed that they considered the support of Sheriff Baca and U.S. Attorney Mayorkas to be significant. And Hugh Rodham continued to contact the White House, including both Lindsey and Cabe. Lindsey, who would soon be president of the tainted Clinton Foundation, later said under oath that he thought the Vignali commutation was an “appropriate one.”
On January 20th, Clinton’s final day in office, he commuted Vignali’s sentence, who had served less than six years (and less than 40 percent) of his fifteen-year sentence. Most of the media coverage focused on the Marc Rich pardon. There was also controversy about Clinton pardoning two Weather Underground terrorists, including the infamous Susan Rosenberg with an assist from Congressman Jerrold Nadler.
On January 24th, Hugh Rodham received 200 thousand dollars from the senior Vignali for helping his son receive clemency. But on February 20, numerous media reports headlined that Hugh Rodham had been paid over 204 thousand dollars by Horacio Vignali and another 230 thousand by Glenn Braswell, who sold miracle medical cures and had been convicted of mail fraud, perjury and tax evasion and was still under investigation. Hillary, who had just been sworn in as a senator, claimed that she was “extremely disappointed,” and “knew nothing” about Hugh taking money for pardons.
Bill Clinton claimed “neither Hillary or I had any knowledge” of the payments, and that Hugh should return any money, but Rodham’s attorney later said that Hugh had not returned more than 150 thousand and had no intent to return anything more. Clinton himself has never explained why he chose to pardon Vignali, a major and unrepentant drug trafficker, to serve less than half of his 15-year sentence.
Even though Pardon Attorney Roger Adams made the White House aware of the facts of the Vignali case, no one ever contacted Minnesota law enforcement, the federal prosecutors there, or Judge David Doty. Todd Jones, the U.S. Attorney and the chief prosecutor, told Roger Adams he was against the pardon because “it was a no-brainer,” and he “did not believe there was any way he was going to be granted (a pardon) in this case.”
Jones’ Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Reilly told me that she had opposed a pardon, and that it was “bought with money.” Judge Doty sent a letter to the Justice Department opposing clemency because of Vignali’s role in the conspiracy and his lack of remorse.
Gerry Wehr, a retired investigator of the Vignali case in Minnesota, is still outraged. He told me Mayorkas “is either incompetent or a liar,” and Becerra and Mayorkas “were only following the democratic party’s wishes.” His colleague Jeff Burchette, who spent 18 years as a narcotics investigator and also worked the Vignali case, is still furious, telling me that Mayorkas should never have been Homeland Security Director because “he’s so full of “s–t,” and that Becerra should never have been HHS Secretary because he and Mayorkas are both “f–ing clowns.”
Hugh Rodham and Horacio Vignali refused to speak to investigators or go under oath. In 2017, Los Angeles County Sheriff Baca was convicted of obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI because of the abuse of county inmates, including beatings and even rape and trying to cover it up. Other officers were also convicted, and Baca was released from prison in 2022 after serving two years of a three-year sentence.
After Biden nominated Mayorkas and Becerra for their cabinet posts in 2020, they were narrowly confirmed by the Senate on mostly party line votes. Since Mayorkas became Homeland Security Director, the flow of fentanyl, human trafficking and migrants crossing the border remains out of control, even though Mayorkas insists that it is not. His plan to let illegals cross the border without a court date continues to be blocked, and now Mayorkas is refusing to make public the number of migrants on the terror watch list that were stopped at the border.
And the actions of Mayorkas and Baca as well as Xavier Becerra in 2001 gave the Clinton White House an excuse to pardon drug kingpin Carlos Vignali and should have ended all of their careers. Duncan DeVille, who was Assistant U.S. Attorney under Mayorkas, tendered his resignation to him citing his involvement with the Vignali case.
In 2002, a year after Carlos Vignali had received clemency, it was discovered that the DEA and other investigators had found that Horacio Vignali was also involved in the drug trade, even at times with his son. Mayorkas and Baca absurdly claimed that they would not have gotten involved if they’d only known at the time.
Also, for Mayorkas, being slammed by the Inspector General in 2015 for inappropriate behavior in dispensing visas and green cards should have sent him into permanent exile.
And Judge Doty said the Vignali pardon was outrageous. He recently told me he was disappointed with Mayorkas then and now. In 2005, Doty told LA Weekly in referring to the Vignali clemency that, “the whole thing stunk,” and that it had “money and corruption and fraud written all over it.” Specifically referring to Mayorkas, he said, “what the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles did was beyond the pale.”
Sadly, the legacy of Alejandro Mayorkas is tainted with dishonesty and corruption that has permanently left a soiled mark.
Ron Kolb is a native of Washington, DC and now resides in Corpus Christi, Texas. He’s been published in National Review, America Spectator, Wall Street Journal, American Greatness and American Thinker.