Building a Compliance Framework from the Ground Up

Large companies generally have well established programs and systems in place to remain compliant with ever-changing regulations within their industry. But at a time when the percentage of job seekers starting their own businesses is at a recent high, young firms and start-ups are at a disadvantage when it comes to compliance, having to build a system from the ground up. In order to have an effective compliance program, an organization must “exercise due diligence to prevent and detect criminal conduct” and must establish and maintain an organizational culture that “encourages ethical conduct and a commitment to compliance with the law.” Thus, management not only has to focus on structure, but also culture in building their compliance systems.

Deregulation of Uranium Mining or: How I Learned to Stop Regulating and Love the Bomb

Compliance professionals all over the country are paying close attention to the Trump administration’s deregulatory campaign. While deregulation in finance has received the most media attention, the uranium mining industry has been a quiet beneficiary of the President’s new regulatory scheme.

Bracket Busted: NCAA Compliance the Clear Loser of March Madness

For the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), March is supposed to be a showcase of the best about college sports, and the ideals the NCAA claims up uphold.  March is about student-athletes representing their schools, in a tournament full of upsets, uplifting stories, and some of the more dramatic moments in sports.  However, this March, the spectacle of March Madness is overshadowed by headlines of criminal conduct, corruption, rules violations, and plenty of criticism for the NCAA.  While many of these stories are just beginning to unfold, there are several ethical and compliance issues raised, which have application to all areas of compliance.

FanFiction: Crossing the Line from Infringement to Fair Use

Over the years, the Internet has become a vast space for people to create and view content shared by millions of Internet users. The abundance of content makes it nearly impossible to regulate everything that is posted. This has created a problem for authors, songwriters, and artists whose work is protected by copyright laws, because it has become increasingly easy for anyone to use, copy, and share copyrighted works that they do not have the right to use. Copyright law exists to “promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” While the Copyright Act clearly grants artists certain exclusive rights to their work, claims of infringement often cause courts to engage in subjective analyses that leave some areas of copyright protection unclear. This has been especially problematic with fanfiction. In Fanfiction, fans of existing books, movies and television shows used different elements of those works to write their own stories, which are often then posted on websites such as, fanfiction.net. Fanfiction raises questions of copyright infringement and whether online forums should be more strictly regulated to monitor compliance with copyright laws.

Threat of the Border Wall: Impact on the Enforcement of Environmental Regulation

In early January of this year, the House Committee on Armed Services granted an extension to a bill that would increase border security. An unlikely opponent of this bill is the environmental lobby, since the bill would allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to waive the requirements of some of the most important environmental protection statutes. These statutes have been the basis for almost all the citizen enforcement in the environmental arena; they work to maintain protections for 73 different areas along the border, along with numerous endangered species.

How will the Supreme Court’s new rule barring the government from refusing offensive trademarks affect the marketplace?

On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court, in an 8-0 ruling, found that the government can no longer sensor trademarks on the grounds that they may be offensive. In Matal v. Tam, the Supreme Court Justices found the seventy-one year old rule allowing the government to refuse offensive trademarks to be unconstitutional and to violate free speech and first amendment rights. The justices were unable to agree on exactly what legal standard was to apply to the present case or future cases. The revocation of this seventy-one year old rule that has affected the registration of many marks over the years is bound to have an effect on the future of trademark law and trademark litigation. Immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was inundated with requests to register offensive trademarks.

ICD-11 on the Horizon: How Soon Will Healthcare Providers Actually Need to Comply?

In October 2015, the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) was implemented in the United States. Three years earlier, however, ICD had already begun beta testing for its eleventh revision (ICD-11). The ICD-10 implementation came after repeated delays and substantial requirements for healthcare organizations to reach compliance with the new codes. The United States trudged through training and compliance struggles as it transitioned to ICD-10. The threat of ICD-11’s release in 2018 promises to have drastic and far-reaching effects on the compliance actions of healthcare organizations. 

Trump Administration Deregulates Financial Services

The Trump administration is delivering on its promise to deregulate America.  Since taking office, numerous regulations spanning everything from energy to health care have been repealed or weakened.  The financial services industry is not immune to the deregulation movement.  The Trump administration is acting through appointments, executive agencies, and legislation to deregulate the financial services industry.  Proponents of deregulation claim the movement is needed after Dodd-Frank and strict post-financial crisis regulation.  However, in deregulating financial services, the Trump Administration—and compliance professionals—should proceed cautiously. 

The Effect on Compliance of Lowering Corporate Tax Rates is Uncertain

It is commonly accepted that lowering tax rates increases tax compliance and high tax rates encourage tax evasion.  The recent U.S. tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, was enacted partly due to assumptions that lowered tax rates would increase tax compliance and recover lost revenue.  Here, I examine the theoretical basis for the claim that lowering income taxes increases compliance, as well as the external evidence regarding the extent of increased compliance due to lowering tax rates.

Cybersecurity – Overview of Financial Services Initiatives

The disclosures of major security breaches in 2017 such as Verizon, Equifax, Uber, the National Security Agency and the Transportation Safety Administration increased consumer concern about the safety of their personal and financial data. These disclosures also contributed to renewed Congressional analysis of data security standards in the financial services sector and review of current federal and state regulatory regimes. Insider cyber threats have become security remains a threat as well. In August 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced insider trading charges against seven individuals who gained access to confidential merger and acquisition data through a technology consultant’s misuse of an investment bank’s new computer system. State actions, governmental agencies and the financial services industry are actively combatting the growth of cyber-security threats.