Until late last month, former federal prosecutor Hui Chen worked in the Justice Department’s fraud section, ensuring that corporations followed federal ethics laws. She started the job in the fall 2015, but in the last six months it became impossible to conduct her duties without feeling as if she was “shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic,” she recently wrote on LinkedIn. So she quit, and she blames the White House:
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. 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 chairs 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.
As a compliance expert in DOJ’s fraud section, Chen essentially served as a corporate crime watchdog. She helped ensure that companies made changes to the policies that resulted in their prosecution and then monitored the effectiveness of those changes.
Little surprise, then, that the Trump’s administration lax approach to ethics rules rankled Chen. In the months after Trump’s inauguration, she began to attend protests during her lunch hour, among other subtle acts of defiance, the International Business Times notes.
Now, she writes, she’ll begin working more directly to “restore the notions of integrity, decency, and intellect back into our government.”