5 Biden Officials Are Violating Federal Law: Top Government Watchdog
In an apt metaphor for Joe Biden’s failed presidency, several members of his administration have overstayed their welcome in violation of federal law, according to the Government Accountability Office.
On Wednesday, the GAO sent five letters to Biden alerting him that multiple appointees who were serving as “acting” officials have occupied their roles past the expiration for those temporary assignments without getting required Senate approvals.
In so doing, the nonpartisan government watchdog said the administration has violated the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which sets time limits for temporarily filling vacant positions in executive branch agencies that require Senate confirmation.
The GAO also notified several congressional committees — including the House Oversight Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee — about the federal violations being committed by the Biden administration.
“In accordance with the requirements of the Vacancies Act, we are also sending letters reporting this violation to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, the Senate and House Committees on the Judiciary, and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management,” the GAO wrote.
Of the Biden appointees who have occupied their temporary roles beyond their time limit, three are still illegally using the “acting” titles, according to the GAO:
• Deidre Harrison, acting controller in the Office of Management and Budget. (Still in violation.)
• Allison Randall, acting director of the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. (Still in violation.)
• Charlotte Dye, acting general counsel of the Federal Labor Relations Authority. (Still in violation.)
• Karen Freeman, Craig Hart and Ann Marie Yastishock, all served as assistant administrator of the Asia bureau in the U.S. Agency for International Development. (The Biden administration claims there’s no continuing violation because no one is currently using the “acting” title for this position.)
• Tae Johnson, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (The Biden administration claims Johnson is no longer in violation due to a title change to “senior official performing the duties of director.”)
The Office of Management and Budget responded to the GAO by claiming it is in compliance because the time clock restarts whenever a new president takes office.
“We respectfully disagree with GAO’s conclusion,” an OMB representative said, according to Government Executive.
“DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded in a recent public opinion that, under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, a change in administrations restarts the timing sequence for acting service in a position that was vacant on inauguration date.”
However, GAO General Counsel Edda Emmanuelli Perez said the OMB is misinterpreting the law, which means the Biden administration is in breach.
“Past nominations may disadvantage a newly inaugurated president by limiting the acting service period in the new administration,” Perez said, as reported by Government Executive.
“However, these concerns cannot override the plain meaning of the Vacancies Act’s provisions.”
Federal jobs for which the president nominates and the Senate confirms the candidate are called “PAS” positions (presidential appointment needing Senate confirmation).
When a new president takes office, he can appoint someone as an “acting” official for 210 days — without Senate confirmation — under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. This expiration can be extended for up to 90 days.
The GAO has determined the Biden administration officials it named have served in their “acting” roles beyond the time limit allowed under the statute.
Given all the major catastrophes occurring under this president — including historic inflation, soaring crime, daily border sieges and a potential third world war — it might seem petty to focus on technical legal violations.
However, these bureaucratic lapses are symptomatic of a much bigger problem, which is that everything seems to be out of control under this dumpster-fire presidency.
It would be easy to overlook relatively minor blunders if Biden were accomplishing big things, such as improving the economy, securing the border or ensuring national security.
But he isn’t.
Moreover, the fact that Biden seems afraid that his appointees would not survive a Senate confirmation vote suggests he knows he’s on shaky ground, both with Republicans and within his own party.
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