What Now? Trump Presidency and Compliance

While votes are still being counted, it’s clear that the Clinton Firewall in Michigan and Wisconsin did not hold. Get used to saying “President Trump.” The other story is that Republicans held the Senate, leaving Congress in the hands of the Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. That means some aspect of the Republican platform will start going through the legislative system in January. What will that mean for compliance?


The Clinton loss was a compliance failure. Clinton failed to implement policies and procedures to address the conflict of interests between the Clinton Foundation and her role in government. There was the appearance of charitable donations being made to influence government action. (If not actual influence-peddling.) Anyone familiar with the FCPA would know that charitable donations to influence government action in a foreign country will put you in the crosshairs of enforcement for an FCPA violation.

Clinton had a cybersecurity failure, or at least the appearance of a failure. Her emails ended up on the computer of an accused pedophile.

As a result, America elected Mr. Trump.

He has clearly stated policies on isolationism, pulling away from free trade and limiting immigration. That was the bedrock of his campaign. America has its version of Brexit.

Mr. Trump has not been clear on what his plan is for domestic policy. That seems to be a more generic Republican agenda. We need to look more toward Mr. Ryan’s plans and Mr. McConnell’s plans.

Expect de-regulation. All three have made calls for repeal of Dodd-Frank. I don’t expect it will be a simple repeal. I think compliance professional can expect a wholesale reversal in some areas. Many of us will be tearing up policies and procedures and starting over.

For private funds, there have been several bills in the House to remove or lessen the registration requirements. Those died in the Senate. It’s not clear if they died because Senate leaders did not like the changes or didn’t want to bother with the legislative effort knowing they would be vetoed by the President.

I expect Mary Jo White will step down as Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. That will leave three vacancies to be filled by the new President. There is a chance that the current candidates are approved during the lame duck session. I would not take that bet. I’m skeptical that Mr. McConnell will let Obama implement anything during the lame duck session.

January will be busy in Congress as the old bills are dusted off and run through committee to get on the floor of the House. New bills will come together quickly. Compliance professionals will need to pay close attention. Change is coming.


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2 Responses to What Now? Trump Presidency and Compliance

  1. Matt Kelly November 9, 2016 at 9:48 am #

    Re: Mary Jo White stepping down from the SEC on Jan. 20– unless the Senate approves the two pending nominations now (unlikely, I agree), the commission will have only two members and be unable to conduct business.

    But when Trump does nominate someone, Elizabeth Warren will be able to put a hold on that nomination until she extracts major concessions. After all, what is Trump’s alternative? To leave the SEC disabled and not do business at all?

    Point being, I believe we’ll have much more paralysis here than you’d first think.

    • Doug Cornelius November 9, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

      There are lots of unknowns out there, in large part because Mr. Trump’s policies are unknown and his political circle is very small. He may be very happy with paralysis.