The speech of #President-elect Donald #Trump demonstrated the importance of ethics, compliance and a framework required to safeguard against potential Conflict of Interest, which are major elements of any #compliance program.

What did everyone say about Conflict of Interests?

Under Title 18 Section 208 federal executive branch employees are barred from participating in matters where they have financial interests. The buck does not stop here as 18 U.S.C. Section 202 specifically states "Except as otherwise provided in such sections, the terms officer and employee in sections 203, 205, 207 through 209, and 218 of this title shall not include the President, the Vice President, a Member of Congress, or a Federal judge".

The law was developed with an objective that the President and Vice President should be free from a legal constraint in order to carry out their constitutional duties.

However, #trump has realized the true impact of Conflict of Interest which In essence means a conflict is a state of being where one's interest supersedes their other interest of preference. Not only this Conflict of Interest creates an environment of toxicities and can lead to more serious violations with a corrosion of judgment creating serious, including potentially criminal, offenses. The key element in his speech achieves something that the compliance professionals across the companies are trying to achieve; that is the culture of “ethics” over the culture of “rules and regulations called the compliance”.

The #president-elect has gone ahead and morally done what is correct in the world of compliance that is to do ethically correct first.

The challenge

The key concerns that were raised are that on the #Trump empire since it is spread over geographies and has foreign stakeholders, which would also have foreign governments. The challenge can potentially be caused by the Emoluments Clause, which says that “no person holding any office shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.

This topic has plagued another topic of discussion that is, the Emoluments Clause is a part of Article I which in essence governs the Legislative branch. However, the President of the USA is covered under Article II, the executive branch, and both the branches are independent of each other.

However, the #Trump administration has identified a solution for this as well; he has not only shifted the empire in the hands of his sons Don and Eric but also announced that the profits would be donated to benefit the common American.

Trump's law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has developed a framework to overcome Conflict of Interests while passing a reference of Nelson Rockefeller who served as the 41st Vice President of the United States (1974–77) under President Gerald Ford, who was a tycoon in his own right and had a empire of his own and no one bothered much about pricking the bubble then, so why now?

The law firm further mentions that the framework would be developed such that all the deals will be vetted by an ethics officer and #Trump. The law firms are pretty proficient at creating "Ethical screen" (another name for the Chinese wall) which is used to wall the lawyer out of a case, by keeping him in the same law firm, while simultaneously being able to take up the party as a client or the case.

In theory, the president-elect would come to know about the deals only through the media/news channel, which is very smart move since most of the reports would hawk on the news even if any of the #Trump towers would place an extra slab of brick. Furthermore, what interested me is the setup of a corporate compliance department, which sends out a strong message to not only the public sector but also the private sector of the importance of compliance.

Irrespective of whatever has been said and done, the #president-elect had three aces in his pocket with which he trumped his critics.