Homeland Security chief appointment was invalid, reports government watchdog

Chad Wolf and top aide Ken Cuccinelli were improperly appointed to their leadership positions at the Department of Homeland Security, reports the Government Office of Accountability.

The Government Accountability Office said Wolf and Cuccinelli assumed those jobs under an order of succession that was issued by an acting secretary who himself had no authority to hold his job. That former acting head was Kevin McAleenan, who took over after the last Homeland secretary to be confirmed by the Senate, Kirstjen Nielsen, resigned.

GAO's conclusion has no force of law, but the agency said it is referring its conclusion to the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general. Friday's findings could, however, be cited in lawsuits challenging DHS policies, including stricter immigration controls.

Wolf, a former corporate lobbyist, is the man behind the recent appearance of unbadged paramiliary agents in Portland. He is also 'credited' as the architect of the administration policy to separate migrants' children from their families at U.S. borders.