The GAO has ruled that DHS is currently being headed by people who are filling their roles illegally:
The appointments of the top two officials at the Department of Homeland Security violated federal law, the Government Accountability Office said on Friday.
GAO, which is an independent watchdog agency that reports to Congress, said that Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and his deputy Kenneth Cuccinelli are serving under an invalid order of succession under the Vacancies Reform Act.
The Vacancies Reform Act governs how temporary appointments can be made to positions that require Senate confirmation. President Trump has repeatedly circumvented the Senate confirmation process by placing people in acting positions — including Wolf and Cuccinelli, whose official title is Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.
Those two appointments violated the act, GAO said, because of the sequence of events following the resignation of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in April of last year. The official who assumed the title of acting secretary at that time, Kevin McAleenan, had not been designated in the order of succession, GAO said.
Subsequent personnel moves also were invalid, and Wolf and Cuccinelli “are serving under an invalid order of succession,” the agency said.
What’s striking about this, of course, is that this isn’t trying to avoid a conflict with Democrats — Republicans that are completely in Trump’s pocket control the Senate. He could almost certainly get Wolf and the Cooch confirmed if he bothered to try. But this is how authoritarianism works — the refusal to follow the law is a feature, not a bug.