The Slatest

DOJ Corporate Ethics Watchdog Quits, Says “Hypocritical” to Work Under Trump

President Donald Trump waves before boarding Air Force One at Joint Andrews Airforce base, Maryland on June 21, 2017 in Washington, D.C.  

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The Justice Department’s compliance attorney, Hui Chen, left her post before her contract was up because she felt like she had no business holding private companies to ethics standards that the White House itself was not meeting. Hui Chen served in the compliance counsel office since November 2015 and left the job last month. The former Pfizer and Microsoft lawyer who was hired to bring a private sector perspective to government work went on to write an extensive post on LinkedIn on June 25 detailing the reasons for her resignation.

“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,” she wrote. “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.”

In the post, Chen went on to mention the numerous lawsuits against Trump “for everything from violations of the Constitution to conflict of interest” plus the ongoing probes into “potentially treasonous conduct.” She also alluded to the firings of FBI Director James Comey and acting Attorney General Sally Yates, noting that “investigators and prosecutors” had been removed from the administration “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,” she wrote. “I wanted no more part in it.”

Chen also said that leaving the government would allow her to speak out more openly about policy issues and in favor of certain politicians without risking violating the Hatch Act. Her opposition to Trump was hardly a secret as she recently sent out several critical tweets targeting the White House and even posted photos of her participation in protests against the administration.

“What will I do now?” Chen wrote. “The mission is the same: to make a difference. It seems clear that there is much work to do not only in taking corporate ethics & compliance to the next level, but also in raising the moral consciousness of societies.”