Presidential Appointments: Qualifications of Acting Officials at the Department of Justice Under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998

GAO-01-1083R: Sep 6, 2001

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The Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 established new requirements for the temporary filling of vacant executive agency positions that require Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation (PAS). The act is intended to create a clear process and a time limit for the temporary filling of PAS positions. It provides specific criteria that must be met by individuals who temporarily fill vacant positions. As of March 7, 2001, 19 of the 35 PAS positions at the Department of Justice headquarters were filled with acting officials, 13 were filled with individuals confirmed before the start of the Bush administration, and one--the Attorney General--was confirmed in the new administration. The remaining two positions--the Associate Attorney General of the Department of Justice and a Regional Commissioner of the United States Parole Commission--were vacant. All 19 acting officials met the qualifications to serve in an acting capacity as prescribed by the Vacancies Reform Act.