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Watchdog: Homeland Security officials were wrongly appointed

Watchdog: Homeland Security officials were wrongly appointed
Posted at 2:24 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 14:24:14-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — The two most senior officials in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were improperly appointed to the posts under federal law by the Trump administration, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog said Friday.

The Government Accountability Office says acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and acting deputy Ken Cuccinelli are ineligible to run the agency under the Vacancy Reform Act.

The GAO says it has asked the DHS inspector general to review their status and decide whether the apparent violation of the Vacancy Reform Act has any effect on actions they took while holding the post.

The report does not carry the force of law, though it could be a factor in lawsuits challenging administration policies or influence members of Congress.

For its part, DHS rejected the finding.

“We wholeheartedly disagree with the GAO’s baseless report and plan to issue a formal response to this shortly,” the agency said in a written response to The Associated Press.

Democrats in Congress called on Wolf to resign.