Going back to law school

“Comey’s Handling of Memos Is Investigated,” The Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2018 A1.

Apparently, the former head of the FBI (and a lawyer) considers memos he wrote in the course of his employment, about a meeting with his boss in his capacity as an employee, on his employer’s computers, to be personal documents, rather than government documents.  I don’t think he learned that at the University of Chicago’s Law School.

Forget, for the moment, whether these contained classified information, the leaking of which would be a crime a well as a violation of the duty of an employee.  He decided to transfer these memos to an outside party (a law professor!), so that they would be leaked to the press.  Another crime if classified information was involved.  But the law professor just became a member of a conspiracy involving the theft of government property.

But think about it from the employer’s point of view.  Didn’t Mr. Comey just convert an employer asset into a personal asset?  Allegedly, he created these contemporaneously as a business record.  Business records belong to the business.

I (another lawyer, mind you) take the view that everything an employee receives or creates in his or her role as an employee is the property of his/her employer.  How could a government employee decide to release them to the media in his/her role “‘as a private citizen.'”  Does this mean an employee of your company can decide on their own to broadcast your trade secrets, not as an employee, but as a private citizen?

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Filed under Compliance (General), Controls, Duty, Employees, Government, Information, Internal controls, Lawyers, Ownership

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