Chad Wolf, Ken Cuccinelli appointments at DHS are invalid, GAO says

Chad Wolf, Ken Cuccinelli appointments at DHS are invalid, GAO says

Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committe

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Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020.

Alex Wong | Bloomberg | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — A U.S. government watchdog concluded Friday that the top two officials at the Department of Homeland Security were improperly appointed following a slew of hasty resignations at the federal agency.

The Government Accountability Office, or GAO, found that the appointments of Chad Wolf, acting secretary of Homeland Security, and Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security, did not follow processes outlined in the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. Therefore, the watchdog ruled, the appointments are invalid.

The Vacancies Reform Act allows for the temporary filling of vacant agency positions that require presidential appointment and Senate confirmation.

Because the department did not follow the proper chain of succession following the resignation of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in 2019, officials “who assumed their positions under such…



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