Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf testifies during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, on February 25, 2020 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on the Trump administration's proposed budget estimates and justification for FY2021 for the Homeland Security Department. Mark Wilson/Getty Images
On Wednesday, September 23 — the day of Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf's confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate — NBC News reported that the consulting firm where his wife, Hope Wolf, is an executive had been awarded more than $6 million in contracts from DHS, according to the federal government website USA Spending.
NBC News' Julia Ainsley reports, "Wolf's wife, Hope Wolf, is vice president of professional staff operations at Berkeley Research Group, a consulting firm. Although the company has a long history of federal contracts, it did not do work for DHS until after Wolf became the (Transportation Security Administration's) chief of staff in 2017. A DHS spokesperson said (Chad) Wolf was not aware of the contracts until he was contacted by the media."
That spokesperson told NBC News, "At no time in any of his positions since joining DHS has Acting Secretary Wolf been involved in awarding any contracts. 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."
But according to Kyle Herrig, founder of the watchdog group Accountable.US, those $6 million worth of contracts may be a conflict of interest. Herrig told NBC News, "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 is highly problematic and warrants congressional scrutiny."
President Donald Trump chose Chad Wolf as acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in November 2019 following the departure of former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Before that, Wolf served as Nielsen's chief of staff.