Campaign Finance Investigations and Enforcement

The FBI names public corruption its No. 1 criminal investigative priority, devoting more resources to it than any other area. Other federal and state agencies place a similar emphasis on fighting public corruption, with a focus on campaign finance law violations. These priorities put politically active businesses and individuals in the crosshairs of government enforcement.

Raising the stakes even further is the complex nature of campaign finance law, with restrictions that are rarely intuitive and that vary from one jurisdiction to the next. Great risk can accompany even inadvertent violations, such as corporate reimbursement of employee contributions, illegal “facilitation” of contributions, exceeding contribution limits, “pay-to-play” violations and unknowing “in-kind” contributions.

Our Team

McGuireWoods’ campaign finance investigations and enforcement team is part of a Chambers-ranked Government Investigations & White Collar Litigation Department named a Law360 Practice Group of the Year twice over the past six years. Strategically positioned across the United States — with nearly 40 lawyers in Washington, D.C. — our team of 80 professionals understands the stakes associated with government investigations. Led by a former chief counsel to a presidential campaign, the team draws on decades of experience in public corruption investigations and campaign-related enforcement actions. We leverage the experience of more than a dozen former federal prosecutors and senior enforcement officials. Our colleagues at McGuireWoods Consulting likewise include former elected officials, executive branch officials and congressional staffers. Some of our team members include:

  • Former chief counsel to a presidential campaign.
  • Former deputy attorney general and acting attorney general of the United States.
  • Former associate counsel for the president of the United States.
  • Former attorney general of Virginia.
  • Former U.S. attorneys and more than a dozen federal prosecutors.
  • Former high-level enforcement officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
  • Former assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
  • Former chief of staff to former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb.
  • Former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. John Hoeven.
  • Deputy independent counsel under Ken Starr during the Whitewater investigation.
  • Former member of Congress and White House political director.
  • Senior congressional staffers from both sides of the aisle.

How We Help

Clients of McGuireWoods’ campaign finance investigations and enforcement team include campaigns, businesses, nonprofits, major donors, public officials, candidates, national and state party committees, and senior party officials, whom we help at all phases of investigative activities by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and DOJ. For issues discovered before government involvement, the team determines what happened, why it happened and what to do about it. Once the government becomes involved, McGuireWoods leverages decades of government experience, which earned it a reputation for knowing how to interface with enforcement officials to reach a resolution. And if an investigation ends up in court, our team has tried dozens of public corruption cases.

Clients call on McGuireWoods to handle a range of campaign finance matters:

  • Designing compliance programs covering federal election activity.
  • Responding to federal investigations of alleged campaign finance violations led by DOJ’s Public Integrity Division.
  • Responding to subpoenas issued by government agencies regarding alleged campaign finance violations.
  • Conducting internal investigations for corporations regarding potential violations of federal campaign finance laws and regulations.
  • Defending against FEC complaints from outset through resolution.
  • Negotiating resolutions of campaign finance enforcement matters with government enforcement counsel.
  • Overseeing board and shareholder relations related to campaign finance investigations.
  • When appropriate, resolving potential violations of campaign finance laws or regulations with the FEC through the self-submission voluntary disclosure process.

McGuireWoods’ campaign finance investigations and enforcement team knows how to identify clients’ campaign finance issues, and gauge their potential legal, political and reputational consequences. Once campaign finance issues arise, our team helps clients limit the consequences by developing strategies to mitigate the risk of litigation and criminal exposure. We also collaborate with McGuireWoods’ strategic risk and crisis management group to address ancillary issues like board and shareholder relations, media inquiries, political considerations and other crisis management matters.

Campaign finance brochure cover

Download a PDF copy of our industry brochure.