Political Investigations Litigation and Enforcement

In the face of hyper-partisan politics and an ever-growing media spotlight, companies and individuals facing scandal are more likely to be the subject of politically charged investigations and face collateral litigation and enforcement actions. When that happens, reputations, careers and businesses are put on the line. Time and again, clients have called upon the skilled members of McGuireWoods’ Political Investigations, Litigation and Enforcement Team to handle their most sensitive and high-profile matters.

When scandal emerges, our experienced Political Investigations, Litigation and Enforcement Team leverages a storied history of helping corporate clients, individuals and elected officials navigate the complexities of politically charged investigations and enforcement actions. One need only look to the national headlines to find the matters we have led. From the Boeing MAX investigation to the Mueller probe; from the opioid crisis to clergy misconduct; from the USA Gymnastics scandal to a multi-agency investigation into a major bank’s sales practices, clients trust us when they face external scrutiny and significant legal challenges.

Our seasoned team of more than 80 attorneys is strategically positioned from Los Angeles to New York—with a strong Washington, D.C. presence—and includes a former Counsel to the President of the United States, a former Deputy Attorney General and acting Attorney General, former United States Attorneys, a former state attorney general, and former DOJ and SEC officials. With the benefit of this experience, McGuireWoods maintains strong relationships with investigating agencies and understands how they operate. As a result, we bring credibility to any representation. 

Our political investigations team also leverages the wide-ranging capabilities and relationships of McGuireWoods’ lobbying arm, McGuireWoods Consulting, which is comprised of a strong bipartisan team of Capitol Hill veterans who understand the political process. This experience has never been more necessary given the current political climate.

How We Help

C-suites of Fortune 500 companies, senior executives, boards of directors and high profile political leaders rely on McGuireWoods to handle responses to politically charged investigations from inception to resolution. We focus on minimizing the business and personal interruptions an investigation can cause. By developing strategies to reduce and address private litigation and criminal exposure, we help to navigate a cumbersome, time-consuming process while limiting the consequences of an investigation.

We also work closely with our Strategic Risk & Crisis Management Team to manage ancillary issues, including board and shareholder relations, media inquiries and other crisi management matters.

Types of Political Investigations

Politically-charged investigations, litigation and enforcement actions take many forms. McGuireWoods’ Political Investigations, Litigation and Enforcement team has significant experience representing clients in these highly sensitive matters, which can include:

  • Congressional Investigations. Congressional investigations are by their nature politically charged. McGuireWoods has worked on some of the highest-profile congressional investigations, including probes into Major League Baseball steroid use, USA Gymnastics and the “Fast & Furious” operation. We also have represented clients in connection with the opioid crisis and an executive related to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill.
  • Campaign Finance Investigations and Enforcement. With limits on the number of Democrats and Republicans, the Federal Election Commission is nominally bipartisan. However, investigations into federal election and campaign finance laws are assuredly highly politicized. Our team has experience representing clients under investigation by the FEC, including the recent investigation of a major healthcare service provider.
  • Election Litigation. Litigation regarding elections and election results are inherently politically-charged and can and do lead to highly-publicized, aggressive and fast-moving challenges. McGuireWoods has been at the forefront of federal and state election litigation.
  • DOJ Criminal and Public Integrity Investigations. Our team includes many former prosecutors and senior leaders of the Department of Justice who bring a depth of experience responding to often politicized and publicized criminal investigations. As a result, we have responded to many investigations conducted by the DOJ Criminal Division and its Public Integrity Section, including investigations of political activity such as potential violations of campaign finance and foreign agent registration laws and regulations.
  • Public Official Scandals. Law and politics unavoidably collide when a public official is accused of misconduct. We have represented elected officials in connection with such accusations, as well as organizations conducting internal investigations related to misconduct. For example, our team led the investigation into the EVMS yearbook scandal impacting Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, and the representation of Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Rep. Tom DeLay. McGuireWoods has also represented a former U.S. Cabinet official, a sitting U.S. Congressperson, sitting Governors, and high-ranking political appointees in a variety of sensitive matters.
  • Litigation against Foreign Governments. Navigating litigation against a foreign government requires elite experience and sophistication. McGuireWoods successfully took on North Korea and won a more than half-billion-dollar judgment on behalf of the family of Otto Warmbier, a representation that was both politically-charged and watched closely by the media.
  • State Attorney General Investigations. Far-reaching investigations by state AGs often involving more than one state — require a coordinated, strategic response. Our team, led by a former state attorney general, assists clients in navigating and resolving state AG investigations. Among other representations, we successfully resolved a multiple-state AG investigation into a national wireless carrier, as well as investigations into a major financial institution, a healthcare provider and a pharmaceutical company.
  • Crisis Management and Strategic Response. Fast-moving and highly publicized investigations shift a company into crisis response mode. Our crisis management team and its leaders know from experience how to counsel a client in implementing a rapid and effective response to a crisis. Senior management and board members rely on us to help protect a company’s reputation in the face of negative news.

About Our Team

The Political Investigations Litigation and Enforcement team is part of the elite Government Investigation & White Collar Litigation Department recognized by Law360 as a Practice Group of the Year. Many attorneys have significant experience working for the very federal and state regulatory and law enforcement agencies that bring investigations and initiate litigation against our clients. As a result, our team has the know-how and judgment to respond to, and defend against, even the most sensitive political investigations and enforcement actions.

Our team also leverages McGuireWoods Consulting, our legislative consulting arm comprising former elected officials and staffers from both sides of the aisle. Our combined team includes:

  • Former Deputy Attorney General and Acting Attorney General of the United States
  • Former Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States
  • Former Associate Counsel for the President of the United States
  • Former U.S. Attorneys and more than a dozen former federal prosecutors
  • Former Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s National Security Division
  • Former Deputy Chief Counsel, Enforcement Division and Enforcement Division Attorneys for the Securities & Exchange Commission
  • Former Attorney General of Virginia
  • Former State Assistant Attorneys General
  • Senior Congressional staffers from both sides of the aisle
  • Former Chief of Staff to former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb
  • Former Chief Counsel to U.S. Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign
  • Deputy independent counsel under Ken Starr during the Whitewater investigation
  • Numerous public policy and legislative affairs consultants
political investigations brochure cover

Download a PDF copy of our team brochure.