DOJ corporate compliance watchdog resigns citing Trump's conduct

A top Justice Department official who serves as a corporate compliance watchdog has left her job, saying she felt she could no longer force companies to comply with the government's ethics laws when members of the administration she works for have conducted themselves in a manner that she claims would not be tolerated.

Hui Chen had served in the department’s compliance counsel office from November 2015 until she resigned in June, breaking her silence in a LinkedIn post last week highlighted by The International Business Times, which points to the Trump administration’s behavior as the reason for her job change.

“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," Chen wrote.

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The former federal prosecutor pointed to the multiple lawsuits filed against President Trump questioning the legality of his ties to his family business empire. 

"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," she continued.

"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 said, adding that management in her office "persistently prohibited me from public speaking."

Chen started working as an in-house compliance counsel for the Justice Department in 2015, the first lawyer to hold the post, the IBT reported. She was responsible for guiding the department's fraud section of the Criminal Division through certain issues like "the prosecution of business entities," according to a Justice Department press release at the time.

She also had to ensure that companies properly carried out their end of negotiated agreements that they reached with prosecutors and that they did not continue to break the law.

Chens contract was set to expire in October.

A Justice Department spokesman said in a statement that the Fraud office is "deeply appreciative of Ms. Chen’s efforts,” Corporate Counsel reported last week. 

Before her resignation, Chen had posted tweets or retweeted articles that were considered critical of Trump.

”For those who truly care about ‪#ethics, ignoring our current ‪#conductatthetop requires abandonment of conscience,” she tweeted last month.

Chen said management in her office tried to silence her from publicly speaking out against the White House.