A Note on DOJ Monitorships

Some gossip for compliance professionals who like to obsess about corporate compliance monitors: the Fraud Section at the Justice Department has started publishing the names of monitors assigned to corporate corruption cases. 

It looks like the names appeared on the Fraud Section website last week, and so far there are only 13 monitorships listed. Still, until now the identity of who gets which monitorship wasn’t something the Justice Department readily disclosed at all; you had to glean those details from court filings or the compliance grapevine. So we applaud this step toward transparency. 

Since the list is so short, here’s the whole thing — 


Source: Justice Department

As you can see, this list only applies to active monitorships from the Fraud Section, not the rest of the Justice Department. That’s disappointing, but perhaps this step toward transparency from the Fraud Section will spread to the rest of the department. One can hope. 

It’s also interesting to see the revolving door at work here, where former Justice Department big-wigs land these lucrative monitorships. 

For example, David Ogden was deputy attorney general at the start of the Obama Administration; now he’s at WilmerHale and running the Tenet Healthcare monitorship. Charles Duross was deputy chief of the Fraud Section during the Obama Administration too; now he’s at Morrison & Foerster and handling the Odebrecht monitorship.

Louis Freeh ran the FBI during the Clinton Administration; he got the Walmart gig. Larry Thompson was deputy attorney general during the George W. Bush Administration, and coincidentally is BFFs with former attorney general Jeff Sessions; he’s the monitor for Volkswagen

You get the idea. All of these people are tremendously talented, capable of running a monitorship per se; and one can make an argument that a monitor should know how to work with the Justice Department. Still, it’s a cozy world — and most of us ain’t in it.

We should also note that 18 months ago the Justice Department published a memo putting more structure around the compliance monitor process generally, which until then had been as confusing as an episode of Westworld. The memo addressed issues such as who selects monitors (a standing committee of Justice Department personnel), the criteria used to evaluate candidates, and even conflicts of interest that would require Justice Department officials to recuse themselves from selection.

So it’s another step forward for transparency, which is welcome news. Applause to the Fraud Section for doing this.

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