Hui Chen, former compliance counsel expert at the Department of Justice, resigned from her position in June — and named the Trump administration as one of the reasons she left.
“First, 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,” Chen wrote in a LinkedIn post published on June 25.
She added that questioning how committed companies were to ethics and compliance as part of her job “felt not only hypocritical, but very much like shuffling the deck chair on the Titanic.”
Chen said that even as she went through those motions, “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.”
She was likely referring to, among other things, President Donald Trump’s firing of former FBI director James Comey, who was spearheading the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s possible role in it. Earlier in the year, Trump also fired Preet Bharara, the former US attorney for the Southern District of New York, when he asked 46 Obama-era attorneys general to resign.
When Bharara was fired, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts suggested that Trump may have dismissed the prosecutor because he held authority over Trump Tower. Later, Bharara appeared to confirm that. “I wanted it to be on record that there was a deliberate decision to change [his] mind and fire me, particularly given what my office’s jurisdiction is,” he told CNN.
Trump has also drawn scrutiny for what some people say is a violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the president from accepting gifts from foreign governments. There are currently several pending lawsuits against Trump to that effect, including one brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, DC.
“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 wrote. “We have just one life to live, and the mission we choose for that life matters as much as the life itself.”
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