Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli were invalidly appointed to their positions and are ineligible to serve, a congressional watchdog determined Friday.
The Government Accountability Office — Congress’ independent investigative arm — concluded that after the resignation of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in April 2019, an improper succession occurred, with Kevin McAleenan taking on the position. McAleenan then altered the order of succession for other officials to succeed him after his departure.
“Because the incorrect official assumed the title of Acting Secretary at that time, subsequent amendments to the order of succession made by that official were invalid and officials who assumed their positions under such amendments, including Chad Wolf and Kenneth Cuccinelli, were named by reference to an invalid order of succession,” GAO’s general counsel Thomas Armstrong concluded.
GAO has referred the matter to the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security for further review and potential action. The office also urged the inspector general to consider the consequences of actions taken by invalidly appointed officials. [Continue reading…]