DHS gave $6 million in contracts to Acting Secretary Wolf’s wife’s firm

A watchdog group calls the finding 'highly problematic and warrants congressional scrutiny.' DHS officials dismissed it.

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Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf is currently facing Senate confirmation to officially assume his role. 

A new report from NBC News has revealed that Berkeley Research Group, where Wolf’s wife, Hope Wolf, serves as vice president, has been awarded $6 million in contracts from DHS since September 2018.

The Homeland Security Department, which has been helmed by Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, has awarded more than $6 million in contracts to the firm at which his wife is vice president. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Wolf was named the Transportation Security Administration chief of staff in 2017 before playing the same role for then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen a year later. Although Berkeley Research Group has a history of federal contracts, the consulting firm had never received funding from the Department of Homeland Security until Wolf joined the TSA.

In his financial disclosures released as part of his confirmation, Wolf’s largest asset listed is his wife’s $1.1 million retirement account. 

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According to Kyle Herrig, founder and president of left-leaning watchdog group Accountable.US, “After Mr. Wolf joined DHS, it began pumping millions of dollars into his wife’s firm, which also happens to be his largest financial asset.”

“The arrangement,” he told NBC’s Julia Ainsley, “is highly problematic and warrants congressional scrutiny.”

Officials at DHS dismissed talk of anything unethical.

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“At no time in any of his positions since joining DHS has Acting Secretary Wolf been involved in awarding any contracts,” a DHS spokesperson said. “Even if he were involved with the procurement process for this particular contract, which he was not, he would have had to recuse himself due to even the appearance of impropriety.”

During his confirmation process, which began Wednesday, Wolf has faced questioning about the detainment of children at the U.S. southern border, as well as a whistleblower complaint that Wolf and his deputy, Ken Cuccinelli, repeatedly instructed Brian Murphy, who headed the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, to modify those assessments to suit President Donald Trump‘s agenda.

Wolf denied the claims as “patently false.” 

The acting secretary also addressed white supremacist extremists, saying that while they were the most “persistent and lethal” threat facing the U.S. among domestic violent extremists, he rejected the idea that it was the overall deadliest threat facing the homeland, pointing to nation-state threats, pandemics and hurricanes.

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