dcsimg Political Law

Political Law

McGuireWoods’ political law group guides clients through the complex world of elections, campaign finance, lobbying, ethics, compliance and more. The team includes accomplished attorneys who have achieved positive results for clients, and several of our members have gained relevant experience serving in government and campaign positions. We advise clients in the following areas:

Campaign Finance and Election Law

Myriad laws and regulations govern the financing of U.S. elections, including complex prohibitions and limitations on who may give, how much may be given, detailed filing and disclosure requirements, and other conditions. While the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United presents opportunities for businesses and other organizations seeking to participate more directly in electoral politics, it also poses a number of legal compliance and political issues warranting careful attention. And while the Citizens United decision de-regulates campaign activity to some extent, there has been a seeming explosion in state, county and municipal “pay-to-play” laws in recent years. These laws, which regulate political activity by companies doing business with governmental entities, along with federal rules adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission for those persons subject to their regulation, carry serious penalties for non-compliance and impose an additional regulatory dimension requiring careful legal analysis and planning for clients who are contemplating political activity.

In a political environment driven by 24-hour news and exacting public scrutiny, the ability to respond quickly to allegations is imperative. Because of our individual and collective expertise in campaign finance and election law, we are able to represent clients in an effective and timely manner. Indeed, we have served as counsel to the most senior members of congressional leadership and as counsel to presidential campaigns. Our current and former political clients include political party committees, federal candidates and campaign committees, political action committees (PACs), super PACs and other nonprofits engaging in political activity. These are in addition to the numerous corporations and trade associations we advise on a regular basis.

Our work includes representations before the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and DOJ, as well as state, county and local election authorities. In addition, we advise clients on ballot access and other election law issues and help clients prepare and file their campaign reports.

Government Ethics

We have significant experience in state and federal ethics-related rules, laws and regulations, including the Ethics in Government Act (EGA), the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA). Lawyers in our Government, Regulatory and Criminal Investigations (GRCI) department regularly advise government officials, candidates and campaign committees, political action committees, corporations, small businesses, nonprofits and others. We represent clients before the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate ethics committees, the Office of Congressional Ethics, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and state ethics commissions. We also help clients navigate recusal and conflict of interest issues, as well as personal financial disclosure reports.

Lobbying Law Compliance and Business Counsel

In 2007, the passage of HLOGA marked a sea change in the legal landscape for lobbyists and the businesses that employ them. HLOGA not only expanded these businesses’ lobbying disclosure requirements, it also substantially increased penalties for failing to comply. For the first time, House and Senate gift and travel rules applied outside of Congress.

McGuireWoods is well versed in this complex area of the law. We represent top government relations firms, corporations and trade associations on legal issues relating to lobbying. We also help clients comply with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). One of our lawyers tackles difficult questions regarding government ethics, lobbying and related compliance matters in a weekly column published in Roll Call, a publication widely read by members of Congress and staff.

In addition to federal law, virtually every state and an increasing number of counties and municipalities have adopted state/local lobbying laws. Some of these laws, in addition to requiring registration and periodic reporting by lobbyists and their clients/employers, impose additional legal restrictions on political contributions and gifts by such persons. Companies and trade associations with multi-jurisdictional government affairs programs therefore must be aware of when their activity triggers a state/local lobbying law and develop a mechanism to quickly adapt to any applicable requirements or restrictions. Because our lawyers routinely advise clients in these matters, we are well positioned to help clients and provide them with timely, cost-effective advice in this constantly changing area of the law.

Our extensive background provides an array of benefits to our clients. We regularly develop and implement formal internal compliance procedures to prevent client issues from arising. We offer employee-training sessions tailored to the specific needs of each client and to reduce the risk of legal liability. These programs not only ensure a knowledgeable workforce, but also help businesses demonstrate their commitment to compliance.

McGuireWoods has held many relevant seminars on lobbying rules, including a recent panel conducted jointly by one of our lawyers and senior counsel from the House and Senate ethics committees.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

As U.S. companies continue to expand their sales and business globally, compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other anti-corruption measures become an increasing concern. The fines and other penalties for violating the FCPA are severe and can lead to costly litigation. Our lawyers advise clients on compliance with the FCPA, reviewing corporate policies, conducting training sessions and preparing training materials. They also conduct internal investigations when clients suspect a violation may have occurred and audit client compliance programs for effectiveness.

Political Investigations

Our lawyers help clients respond to a wide range of political investigations. While our representations have often involved investigations by congressional committees, we have also represented clients in criminal investigations arising from interactions with Congress and other government officials. These clients have included members of Congress and staff, as well as Fortune 500 companies and private individuals.

In each of these matters, we have teamed with lobbying and public relations professionals at our public policy affiliate, McGuireWoods Consulting, whose team members provide invaluable guidance in forming a strong government relations team. In addition to taking clients’ messages to Washington, we also help clients protect their public images — a potentially daunting challenge when faced with the public scrutiny that often accompanies a political investigation.

Even in the absence of an actual investigation, we advise clients regarding ethics and legal issues affecting members of Congress, congressional employees, lobbyists, and other businesses that interact with Congress.

Strategic Counsel and Crisis Management

Given the attention of media outlets and their investigative units, business entities and government officials need representation that recognizes and responds to a broad spectrum of immediate and strategic legal, ethical and media requirements. Our team has played a key role helping clients address some of the most-high profile political developments of the last decade.

Investigations often involve parallel proceedings. Clients may be subjected to their own internal audits, regulatory or administrative scrutiny, congressional hearings, state attorney general probes, grand jury investigations, and an onslaught of questions from the media — often simultaneously. Our clients seek strategic counsel to manage crises, and they require reliable public messaging and analysis that can be disseminated quickly and clearly.

CONTACTS

C. Simon Davidson Counsel T: +1 804 775 1059
Lindsay Hansen Anderson Lindsay K. H. Anderson
Counsel
77 West Wacker Drive
Suite 4100
Chicago, IL 60601-1818

T: +1 312 849 8134
F: +1 312 698 4501
vCard
Franklin D Annand Franklin D. Annand
Associate
2001 K Street N.W.
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006-1040

T: +1 202 857 1755
F: +1 202 857 2959
vCard
Frank B Atkinson Frank B. Atkinson
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4376
F: +1 804 698 2226
vCard
Yongqing Bao
Associate
rue des Colonies 56 - box 3
1000 Brussels

T: +32 2 629 42 24
F: +32 2 629 42 22
vCard
Evan Bayh Evan Bayh
Partner
2001 K Street N.W.
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006-1040

T: +1 202 828 2825
F: +1 202 828 3331
vCard
Maurice A Bellan Maurice A. Bellan
Partner
2001 K Street N.W.
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006-1040

T: +1 202 857 2400
F: +1 202 828 2981
vCard
Mark T Bowles Mark T. Bowles
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 1904
F: +1 804 698 2267
vCard
Milt Cerney Milton Cerny
Counsel
2001 K Street N.W.
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006-1040

T: +1 202 857 1711
F: +1 804 698 2278
vCard
Phillip Chang Phillip C. Chang
Associate
2001 K Street N.W.
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006-1040

T: +1 202 857 1725
F: +1 202 828 2995
vCard
C. Simon Davidson C. Simon Davidson
Counsel
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 1059
F: +1 804 698 2256
vCard
Frank J Donatelli Frank J. Donatelli
Partner
2001 K Street N.W.
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006-1040

T: +1 202 857 2914
F: +1 202 857 1737
vCard
James W Dyke Jr. James W. Dyke JR
Sr. Advisor, Virginia State Gov. Relations McGuireWoods Consulting LLC
1750 Tysons Boulevard
Suite 1800
Tysons Corner, VA 22102-4215

T: +1 703 712 5449
F: +1 703 712 5050
vCard
Robert L Fortson Robert L. Fortson
Counsel
Promenade
1230 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Suite 2100
Atlanta, GA 30309-3534

T: +1 404 443 5812
F: +1 404 443 5599
vCard
Milligan J G Goldsmith Milligan J. G. Goldsmith
Associate
434 Fayetteville Street
Suite 2600
Raleigh, NC 27601

T: +1 919 755 6697
F: +1 919 755 6606
vCard
D. Bowen Heath D. Bowen Heath
Counsel
434 Fayetteville Street
Suite 2600
Raleigh, NC 27601

T: +1 919 836 4009
F: +1 919 755 6699
vCard
Jerry W Kilgore Jerry W. Kilgore
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 1933
F: +1 804 775 1061
vCard
Brian Lobby Brian W Looby
Counsel
Promenade
1230 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Suite 2100
Atlanta, GA 30309-3534

T: +1 404 443 5869
F: +1 404 443 5599
vCard
Yves Melin Yves Melin
Partner
rue des Colonies 56 - box 3
1000 Brussels

T: +32 2 629 42 26
F: +32 2 629 42 22
vCard
Dale Mullen Dale G. Mullen
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4710
F: +1 804 698 2098
vCard
Carlos Muniz Carlos G. Muñiz
Partner

F: +1 904 360 6305
vCard
Christopher R. Nolen
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 1938
F: +1 804 698 2068
vCard
Michael P Reynold Michael P. Reynold
Counsel
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 1917
F: +1 804 775 1061
vCard
Darren William Stanhouse Darren William Stanhouse
Associate
434 Fayetteville Street
Suite 2600
Raleigh, NC 27601

T: +1 919 755 6667
F: +1 919 755 6618
vCard
Results 1-8 of 8
Speaking Engagement

2013 East Coast Regional Compliance and Ethics Conference

Pay-to-Play Pitfalls When Contracting with State and Local Governments

April 12, 2013
Washington, DC
Speaking Engagement

Compliance & Ethics Institute

Government Ethics Rules: How Organizations Can Comply

October 14-17, 2012
Los Vegas, NV
Event

9th Annual Nonprofit Seminar

The Impact of Tax and Economic Challenges on Nonprofits

October 2011
Richmond, VA, Charlottesville, VA, and Charlotte, NC
Event

Political Law 2011

Compliance for Businesses and Congressional Staffers

June 21, 2011
Washington, DC
Results 1-8 of 8
Results 1-20 of 135
Show All
Article

A Question of Ethics

Are Members Permitted to Help Companies in Which They Own Stock?

October 21, 2014
Article

A Question of Ethics

When Is a Tweet an Ethics Violation?

July 24, 2014
Legal Alert

2014 Food Industry Outlook

January 8, 2014
Article

A Question of Ethics

May Staffers Participate in IPOs?

Roll Call
November 12, 2013
Article

A Question of Ethics

Are Members of the House Allowed to Hire Relatives?

Roll Call
October 29, 2013
Article

A Question of Ethics

Keep Working While Furloughed?

October 16, 2013
Article

A Question of Ethics

What Did Jesse Jackson Jr. Do Wrong?

Roll Call
September 10, 2013
Article

A Question of Ethics

Does the DOMA Ruling Affect Ethics Rules?

Roll Call
July 9, 2013
Article

A Question of Ethics

Ethics Rules Bind Furloughed Staffers

Roll Call
May 16, 2013
Article

A Question of Ethics

Are McConnell Ethics Charges Valid?

Roll Call
April 23, 2013
Article

A Question of Ethics

May Members and Staff Accept 'VIP' Discounts?

Roll Call
April 11, 2013
Article

A Question of Ethics

OCE Draws Inferences Against Third Parties

Roll Call
February 26, 2013
Article

A Question of Ethics

Travel Rules Require Planning Ahead

Roll Call
February 5, 2013
Legal Alert

Change Coming to Conflicts of Interest Standards in Congress

Subject to Inquiry
December 21, 2012
Article

A Question of Ethics

Government Ethics Stories of the Year

Roll Call
December 4, 2012
Article

A Question of Ethics

Are 'I Voted' Promotions Illegal?

Roll Call
November 13, 2012
Results 1-20 of 135