Four Commerce Dept. Political Appointees Ousted Over Background Checks

US Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross gestures as he leaves after addressing delegates at the annual Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference in east London, on November 6, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-O... US Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross gestures as he leaves after addressing delegates at the annual Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference in east London, on November 6, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 28, 2018 8:38 a.m.

Four political appointees in the Department of Commerce lost their jobs Tuesday over issues with their background checks, as Chief of Staff John Kelly cracks down on staffers operating under an interim security clearance.

According to The Washington Post, the Commerce Department determined that the four appointees — Fred Volcansek, who was a senior adviser to Secretary Wilbur Ross, and aides Chris Garcia, Edgar Mkrtchian and Justin Arlett — should not have access to classified information.

The Commerce Department ousting follows reports that President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner’s top-secret interim security clearance was downgraded on Friday. Kelly decided to crack down on temporary security clearances after it was reported that former White House secretary Rob Porter had an interim clearance while the FBI was investigating past allegations of domestic abuse. Porter left the White House after his two ex-wives went public with their accusations of abuse.

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