One of the Justice Department’s top corporate crime watchdogs has resigned. She says she couldn’t enforce ethics laws against companies while the Trump administration has been engaging in unethical conduct.
Hui Che, a former Pfizer and Microsoft lawyer and former federal prosecutor, was the compliance counsel in the fraud unit of DOJ’s criminal division. She discussed her reasons for quitting in a LinkedIn post published June 25, in which she wrote that it was impossible to sit across from corporate representatives and demand a basic standard of behavior that is not being enforced in the White House:
Trying to hold companies to standards that our current administration is not living up to was creating a cognitive dissonance that I could not overcome. To sit across the table from companies and question how committed they were to ethics and compliance felt not only hypocritical, but very much like shuffling the deck chair on the Titanic.
Even as I engaged in those questioning and evaluations, on my mind were the numerous lawsuits pending against the president of the United States for everything from violations of the Constitution to conflict of interest, the ongoing investigations of potentially treasonous conducts, and the investigators and prosecutors fired for their pursuits of principles and facts.
Those are conducts I would not tolerate seeing in a company, yet I worked under an administration that engaged in exactly those conduct. I wanted no more part in it.
Chen has posted several tweets critical of the administration:
— Hui Chen (@HuiChenEthics) June 13, 2017
What do you think of a company GC who refuses to answer the Audit Comm’s questions b/c he wants to protect the CEO? #SessionsHearing
— Hui Chen (@HuiChenEthics) June 14, 2017
— Hui Chen (@HuiChenEthics) June 22, 2017
“My ability to do good at a more micro-level, by exchanging ideas with the compliance community on ways to assess the effectiveness of compliance programs, was severely limited,” she wrote. “The management of the Criminal Division, of which the Fraud Section is a part, has persistently prohibited me from public speaking.”
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