Elliot S. Berke


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  • Emory University School of Law, JD, Executive Articles Editor, Emory International Law Review, 1997
  • Wake Forest University, BA, cum laude, 1993
  • District of Columbia

President, Wake Forest University Alumni Association

Co-chair, Wake Forest and Washington Capital Campaign

President, Evil Empire Speech Memorial Foundation

Board of Governors; Advisory Committee, Republican National Lawyers Association

General Counsel and Senior Advisor, Jack Kemp Foundation

Steering Committee, Romney Justice Advisory Committee, 2011-2012

Member, Federalist Society

Member, American Bar Association

Member, The Churchill Centre

Advisory Board, Emory University School of Law Supreme Court Advocacy Project

Advisory Board, Emory University School of Law International Law Review


Elliot’s practice focuses on the intersection of politics and the law — serving as co-chair of the firm's Political Law group. His client base consists of federal and state elected and appointed officials, campaign committees, political parties, PACs, corporations, small businesses, trade associations, lobbying firms, nonprofits and individuals. He represents clients before congressional ethics and oversight committees, the FEC, the DOJ, other and federal and state departments and agencies. He has represented the top four leadership positions in the U.S. House of Representatives – Speaker, Majority Leader, Majority Whip, and Conference Chair – as either in house or outside counsel.

Prior to entering private practice full time, Elliot served as the general counsel of a Fortune rated top government relations firm. As the firm’s chief legal advisor, he oversaw compliance with federal and state laws, workplace legal issues, and worked with outside counsels on litigation in federal court.

He served as in-house counsel and ethics advisor to the two most senior members of House leadership. As counsel to the Office of the Speaker and general counsel to the Office of the House Majority Leader, he advised and counseled on ethics and compliance for the speaker, the leader, and their staffs. In the three years he worked in House leadership, he implemented procedures to ensure compliance with House rules and standards of conduct, consulted with campaign and PAC officials, conducted internal reviews, and worked closely with outside counsel. During his service for House leadership, Elliot also served as a staff representative on the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), which represents the leadership on matters including speech or debate immunity and separation of powers. His tenure coincided with a notably active period of federal investigation into issues related to members and congressional staff, and his counsel was consistently sought out by the House general counsel on how to best respect the interests of the House. He provided guidance on the constitutionality of numerous pieces of legislation over the course of three Congresses, and offered advice on the issuance of committee subpoenas. He also served as the principal policy advisor on homeland security, judiciary, tort reform and campaign finance issues, including on the Class Action Fairness Act and the reauthorizations of the PATRIOT Act and the Voting Rights Act.

Elliot’s ethics and compliance experience on Capitol Hill was preceded by similar experience within the executive branch. As special counsel to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), he oversaw complex and sensitive legal issues for the department. He also advised the Office of the Secretary on questions of ethics, including scheduling issues and FOIA requests. Prior to his service at HUD, he served as a senior associate independent counsel on the Whitewater and Lewinsky investigations. Elliot began his legal career as an investigative counsel for Senate and House oversight committees.

T: +1 202 828 2814F: +1 202 828 2990eberke@mcguirewoods.com2001 K Street N.W.
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006-1040

Serve as outside counsel to members of Congress and their campaigns and PACs, including House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers and House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster.

Representation of corporations and lobbying firms on governance and compliance issues, including on lobbying and political activity.

Representation of non-profits on governance and compliance issues, including the Jack Kemp Foundation, the Robert Duvall Children’s Fund, the American Energy Alliance and the Mercatus Center.

Representation of the interests of Romney for President on ballot issues in Virginia.

Representation of high net worth donors and private equity firms on political activity and giving.

Representation of multiple members of Congress and congressional staff before the House and Senate Ethics Committees and the Office of Congressional Ethics, and on Financial Disclosure and Stock Act compliance.

Representation of individuals in political corruption and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations before the Justice Department, Offices of Inspectors General, the Office of Special Counsel, and Congress.

Representation of federal party committees, campaign committees, PACs, Super PACs and state candidates and parties before the FEC and state agencies on audits and investigations.

Representation of multiple individuals before the Senate Ethics Committee and the Justice Department during the Senator Ensign investigation.

Representation of a senior democratic lobbyist in the congressional and Justice Department investigations into the PMA Group.

Representation of a congressman on the first referral (and complete dismissal) from the Office of Congressional Ethics to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

Representation of an assistant secretary on an internal departmental investigation.

Representation of the deputy director of a federal agency on recusal and conflict of interest issues.

Representation of a former departmental deputy chief of staff before the Office of Special Counsel.

Representation of the Administrator of the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and DOJ’s Office of Inspector General.

Representation of the director of the Western Regional Center of the RMC Research Corporation before the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General and House and Senate Education Committee investigations into the Reading First program under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Schaghticoke Tribal Nation v. Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior. Representation of the chief operating officer of the Barbour Griffith & Rogers lobbying firm in deposition testimony in federal court.

United States v. Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2113. Representation of amici curiae brief before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Representation of the Speaker and Majority Leader of the House in depositions before the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

Rendered by Chambers USA as “National Best Lawyer,” June 2012; May 2013

Named to "Washington’s Best Lawyers," Washingtonian Magazine, 2011, 2013

Co-author, "Tis the Campaign Season: Workplace Fundraising Laws," Law360, June 4, 2012
Author, "Winston is (Almost) Back," Finest Hour, Spring 2012
Author, "The Next Fifteen Minutes Could Save Your Campaign Account," Mondaq, November 9, 2011
Co-author, "Time To Be Aware Of FARA Enforcement," Law360, September 16, 2011
Co-author, "Laws Regulating Political Activity Go Global," Executive Counsel, August/September 2011
Author, "Netanyahu and Churchill at the United Nations," Finest Hour, Winter 2010
Author, "Havel Speech Anniversary Worth Noting," The Daily Caller, February 2010
Author, "Citizens United Ruling Only the Beginning of Speech Debate," The Daily Caller, January 2010
Co-author, "Politicizing the Arts Community: What Did the White House Do Wrong?," Big Government, October 2009
Author, "Why I Believe in Wake Forest," Window on Wake Forest, August 21, 2009
Author, "Remembering Jack Kemp," Window on Wake Forest, May 6, 2009
Author, "An Ethics Policy Worthy of the Sneetches," Roll Call, March 31, 2009
Author, "White House Lobby Rules Invite Trouble," Washington Examiner, March 18, 2009
Author, "At the Bar," National Journal, September 20, 2008
Author, "Good Man, Evil Empire: Ronald Reagan Made History 25 Years Ago in Orlando," Orlando Sentinel, March 4, 2008
Panelist, Emory Law and Goizueta Business School Alumni Professional Development Panel, February 2014
Panelist, Common Ethics Pitfalls, House Republican Member Retreat (moderated by House Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Conaway), January 2014
Moderator and Panelist, Virginia Election Day Operations, Republican National Lawyers Association, August 2013
Panelist, Political Law 2013: Compliance for Businesses and Staffers, McGuireWoods Seminar with DOJ Officials and Chief Counsels to the Congressional Ethics Committees, June 2013
Panelist, "Can Campaign Finance be Reformed?," James Madison’s Montpelier Center for the Constitution Conference, May 2013
Master of Ceremonies, Wake Forest University Distinguished Alumni Award Gala, April 2013
Panelist, Political Law 2012: Compliance for Businesses and Congressional Staffers, McGuireWoods Seminar with Chief Counsels to the Congressional Ethics Committees, May 2012
Panelist, "Health Care Reform – How Will the Next Chapter Unfold?," YG Network Summit, March 2012
Panelist, "“Do’s and Don’ts” for lawfully soliciting contributions for political candidates and political committees in 2012," ’Tis the (Campaign) Season: The Laws of Political Fundraising for 2012, McGuireWoods and McGuireWoods Consulting Seminar, February 2012
Panelist, "Political Campaign & Lobbying Activities," 9th Annual Nonprofit Seminar, October 2011
Panelist, "Congressional Ethics," Political Law 2011, McGuireWoods Seminar, June 2011
Speaker, "Introduction of NRSC General Counsel," Republican National Lawyers Association Florida Election Law Training, September 2010
Moderator, "The Citizens United Case and the First Amendment," Republican National Lawyers Association National Policy Conference, April 2010
Speaker, "Introduction of NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions and Deputy Chairman Greg Walden," Republican National Lawyers Association Luncheon, January 2010
Speaker, "Introduction of Republican Whip Eric Cantor," Republican National Lawyers Association Luncheon, October 2009
Speaker, "Ethics Consideration for the Election Law Lawyer," National Summer Election Law Seminar School, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, August 2009
Speaker, "Introduction of Governor Tim Pawlenty," Republican National Lawyers Association Luncheon, June 2009
Speaker, "Introduction of Republican Leader John Boehner," Republican National Lawyers Association Luncheon, May 2009
Speaker, "Introduction of Hon. Hans von Spakovsky," Republican National Lawyers Association’s Annual Edwin Meese III Pre-National Conference Reception, April 2009