DHS gave $6 million in contracts to Acting Secretary Wolf’s wife’s firm
Originally Published; Sept. 25, 2020
The two contracts to Berkeley Research Group began in September 2018 and 2019 and are for “Information Technology Software,” federal records show, but it is unclear what that software is.
Berkeley Research Group did not receive any government contracts from DHS prior to Wolf starting at the agency as chief of staff for the Transportation Security Administration in 2017, though it has previously received other government contracts.
Wolf’s wife, Hope Wolf, serves as the vice president of professional staff operations at the consulting firm, and has a $1.1 million retirement fund through the company, which is the biggest financial asset listed on Chad Wolf’s financial disclosure form.
A DHS spokesperson told NBC Wolf had been “unaware” of the contracts and “at no time in any of his positions since joining DHS has Acting Secretary Wolf been involved in awarding any contracts.”
A watchdog group calls the finding ‘highly problematic and warrants congressional scrutiny.’ DHS officials dismissed it.
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.
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.
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.
“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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