The highest government watchdog in the country claims that several Biden administration employees are in office in violation of federal law.
The Federal Vacancies Reform Act has been violated by the individuals who are serving in “acting” capacities while the Executive Branch positions are empty, according to five independent reports from the Government Accountability Office. A member of the Office of Management and Budget, the Assistant Secretary of ICE, and a senior representative of the Department of Justice are among the posts.
According to the GAO’s website, the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 “establishes standards for temporarily filling empty positions in Executive Branch bureaus that need a presidential appointment as well as Senate confirmation. This statute specifies who could temporarily serve, how long they may serve, and what happens if no one is serving while the position is vacant.” A legislative branch organization called the GAO sends letters to the president and Congress to alert them to legal infractions.
Posts in the government that must be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate are referred as PAS positions. The Federal Vacancies Reform Act permits “acting” officials to occupy certain posts for a total of 210 days when a new president is sworn in or a current official leaves their post during the presidency. When a new president is inaugurated, that time frame may be extended by up to 90 days, for a total of 300 days. The official’s immediate subordinate fills in as the acting position in each office. However, the president has the option of nominating “a person holding another PAS post; or a senior agency officer or employee who has served for at least a length of time previous to the vacancy” to fill the position.
According to the legislation, acting officers may fill the vacancies while the Senate deliberates these nominees. A nominee assumes office once the Senate approves them. However, the specific government post must remain empty after the legally permitted amount of time has passed, and the only person authorized to fill the position is the head of the relevant agency.
Harrison has been acting Controller since March 2021, according to the GAO. She was permitted to stay in office while a nomination was being thought about. She did, however, continue to serve after August 2, 2022, in violation of the Act. In contravention of the Act, Randall has been in office since May 26; Johnson and Dye have been in office since November 16, respectively. The GAO determined that Freeman, Hart, and Yastishock served unlawfully between November 16, 2021, and August 8, 2022.