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Hawaii Attorney General’s Office hires nationally known ethics expert

  • COURTESY PHOTO
                                Hui Chen

    COURTESY PHOTO

    Hui Chen

Hui Chen, an anti-fraud expert who made national news when she resigned from her U.S. Department of Justice job in the wake of the firing of FBI Director James Comey, has been hired by the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office.

Attorney General Clare E. Connors today announced Chen will fill the newly created position of chief integrity adviser and will report directly to Connors.

Chen will be a member of the new Complex Litigation, Fraud, and Compliance Unit, and will be tasked with investigating and consulting on compliance issues within state government. Her responsibilities will also include internal training programs for the office, and ethics and conflicts reviews.

The announcement by Connors described Chen as an internationally acknowledged leader in ethics and compliance issues. She has held senior compliance positions in the technology, pharmaceutical and financial services industries, and was the first compliance counsel expert at the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Not only has Hui worked with companies and regulatory authorities around the world to address ethics and compliance issues, she has extensive private and public sector experience,” said Connors in her statement. “As my department continues its commitment to provide thoughtful improvement to the state of Hawaii, I am delighted to welcome Hui to the team.”

Chen was the subject of a number of news stories in Washington., D.C., after she resigned in mid-2017, saying she could no longer force companies to comply with the government’s ethics laws when members of President Donald Trump’s administration were behaving in unacceptable ways.

“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 at the time. “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.”

A CNN story noted that Chen had posted a picture of herself on social media protesting in front of the White House, but Chen told the cable news outlet she was careful to avoid any politically inappropriate posts.

Trump’s firing of Comey weeks before Chen’s resignation was a turning point for her, she told the cable outlet.

“That really was stunning to me,” Chen told CNN. “I kept trying to picture a company telling us that we have a situation involving the CEO, where the lead investigator was told to ‘let it go’ and then fired. That would not be a good story to tell the fraud section — that would not reflect well on your company’s compliance program.”

Comey was fired May 9, 2017, and later arranged to have a memo leaked to the public in which he disclosed that Trump had asked him to end the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

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