The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) gave more than $6 million in contacts since September 2018 to the firm where acting Secretary Chad Wolf’s wife serves as an executive, NBC News reported Wednesday.
The consulting firm Berkeley Research Group has worked on many federal contracts but worked with DHS after Wolf was named the chief of staff at DHS’s Transportation Security Administration in 2017.
His wife, Hope Wolf, is the vice president of professional staff operations at the company.
Records on the federal government website USA Spending indicate that Berkeley Research Group’s contracts are for “Information Technology Software,” but NBC News said it’s unclear what software was given to which part of DHS.
A DHS spokesperson told The Hill that Chad Wolf did not know about the contracts until reporters contacted him.
“At no time in any of his positions since joining DHS has Acting Secretary Wolf been involved in awarding any contracts,” the spokesperson said.
“The whole process is performed by career officials. 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.”
Berkeley Research Group declined to comment on “client engagements.”
Kyle Herrig, the founder and president of Accountable.US, a liberal leaning watchdog, told NBC News the contracts could be a conflict of interest.
“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,” Herrig told the network. “The arrangement is highly problematic and warrants congressional scrutiny.”
He also noted the largest amount on Chad Wolf’s federal financial disclosure form is for Hope Wolf’s $1.1 million retirement account at the company.
The news comes as the acting secretary is scheduled to appear for his confirmation hearing in the Senate Wednesday morning. President Trumpannounced he would nominate Chad Wolf to become the DHS secretary last month after Wolf had served for nine months in an acting capacity.
Wolf became the chief of staff at the Transportation Security Administration in 2017 before being promoted to chief of staff to then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in 2018. He became acting secretary of the agency in November.