The GAO referred the matter to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general for further review and potential action. The office also urged the inspector general to consider the consequences of the actions of the improperly appointed officials.
A DHS spokesperson said the department plans to give an official response shortly.
“We wholeheartedly disagree with the unfounded GAO report,” the spokesperson said.
The legal opinion is not binding but has the ability to raise unusual legal questions and invite lawsuits over the legality of actions taken by Wolf and Cuccinelli, a follower Conservative immigration. The GAO said it had not considered the validity, leaving the question for the inspector general to review.
GAO̵7;s comments were made at the request of House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) And House Supervision Committee Chairman Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.), who urged the inspector-general to “immediately and quickly review the legitimacy of the actions – lasting 16 months – by these officials.” They also urged Wolf to resign and return to the secondary role. strategy chief has been confirmed by the Senate previously. And they asked Cuccinelli to resign completely.
This is not the first time Cuccinelli has faced questions about the validity of the appointment. In March, a federal judge ruled that he was illegally appointed to the role of acting director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, a ruling that blocked two policies he had taken. at that time. Trump did not nominate Cuccinelli for one of the two top DHS jobs he has held, a prospect likely to encounter resistance among Senate Republicans who have clashed with Cuccinelli in the past.
The decision appears to be due to a DHS procedural error. The day before she resigned on April 10, 2019, Nielsen sought to amend the succession order to give McAleenan her successor. However, the GAO found that the department only changed the order of succession for vacancies resulting in when the secretary was unable to serve due to disaster or disaster. The order of succession due to resignation remained unchanged, the GAO noticed, and that order did not give McAleenan to take over.
Therefore, after Nielsen resigned, the law required the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency to succeed her, GAO said. But instead, President Donald Trump promoted McAleenan, head of Customs and Border Protection, to this position. McAleenan subsequently changed the order of succession, helping Wolf and Cuccinelli get top jobs.
DHS tried to argue that Nielsen intended to nominate McAleenan as her successor when she resigned and, in a letter to the GAO, argued that the intention was clear and legally valid. But GAO said the letter did not mention “plain language” about the changes Nielsen has made.
“When Secretary Nielsen issued the Mission in April, she just revised Annex A, placing the US High Commissioner on Customs and Border Protection next in the next order in the event that the Minister was not available. Sieve action in case of disaster or disaster emergency ”, GAO found.