President Donald Trump has appointed Uttam Dhillon to be his special assistant and associate counsel, making him the second Indian American on his White House staff.
An expert on ethics and the law, Dhillon will have an important role in ensuring that ethical problems don't arise from the businessman-turned-president's extensive businesses, Trump's spokesperson Sean Spicer said on Wednesday. Trump's extensive empire of more than 400 companies that span the globe has raised ethical issues because of the intersection of business and government.
The appointment of Dhillon and the compliance team is an effort to ensure that ethics problems don't crop up or are doused as soon as they come up. Spicer described the team members as “esteemed” lawyers of “high caliber.”
Trump announced earlier this month that he was transferring all his businesses to a trust he is setting up to distance himself from his companies. The trust will be headed by his sons, Donald, Jr., and Eric.
Although he has since resigned from his companies a cloud of potential ethics conflicts hang over Trump because of the continuing family control of the companies through the trust.
Earlier this month, Trump appointed Raj Shah, an expert in strategic communications and political research, as his deputy assistant and research director on the White House staff.
Apart from his personal White House staff, Trump has appointed three others to senior administration positions: Nikki Haley as the cabinet rank ambassador to the United Nations, Ajit Pai to head the Federal Communications Commission that regulates all wireless and electronic communications, and Seema Verma as the head of the government health insurance programmes.
Dhillon was the chief oversight counsel for the House of Representative Committee on Financial Services. He was responsible for Congressional investigations of the financial services industry and government regulators.
He has also worked as an associate deputy attorney general in President George W. Bush's administration and as the director of counternarcotics enforcement in the Department of Homeland Security.