According to the New York Post, The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has accused the administration of President Joe Biden of violating federal law by allowing several officials to remain in their positions without obtaining confirmation from the U.S. Senate.
For those unfamiliar with the GAO, it is a nonpartisan government watchdog group.
According to its website, “GAO provides Congress, the heads of executive agencies, and the public with timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can be used to improve government and save taxpayers billions of dollars.”
The GAO alleges that the Biden administration has committed five violations of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.
According to GAO, the Vacancies Act “establishes requirements for temporarily filling vacant positions in Executive Branch agencies that require presidential appointment and Senate confirmation.”
Under the act, a new president, once he takes office, can appoint someone as an “acting” official for a period of 210 days without obtaining the necessary Senate confirmation. The act also allows for an extension of 90 days.
The GAO maintains that Biden has violated this law at least five times.
This includes Deidre Harrison, acting controller of the Office of Management and Budget; Allison Randall, acting director of the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women; Charlotte Dye, acting general counsel of the Federal Labor relations Authority; and Tae Johnson, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
According to the GAO, the violations also include the assistant administration position of the Asia bureau in the U.S. Agency for International Development, which has been filled by Karen Freeman, Craig Hart, and Ann Marie Yastishock.
What’s Biden hiding?
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is one agency that is pushing back against the GAO’s claims.
“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,” the OMB said.
The GAO, however, has argued that the OMB is misinterpreting the Vacancies Act.
GAO has notified both Biden and the U.S. Congress of these alleged violations. It is unclear what, if anything, will be done.
The question is: if the position requires Senate confirmation, then why doesn’t Biden put these acting officials before Congress to be confirmed? One could only surmise that Biden hasn’t done so because he knows that the acting officials wouldn’t be able to pass the confirmation process.