Political and Election Law

Overview

As an integral part of the Patton Boggs Public Policy Practice, our attorneys assist clients in complying with federal and state election laws, lobbying laws and ethics regulations. Our clients include large and small corporations and trade associations, candidates for office, state political parties, issue advocacy groups, donors, and vendors.

As the regulation of politics has grown, so has the need for participants in the process to keep track of the myriad, and often contradictory, rules that govern the political process on the federal and state level. To provide that counsel, the firm offers strong expertise in a broad range of areas. For example, our lawyers handle issues such as the federal gift rules, which restrict what may be given to members of Congress and their staff and to employees of the executive branch. With the rise in regulation of the political process have come more frequent enforcement investigations—we have represented numerous clients in congressional and grand jury investigations as well as in federal and state administrative enforcement proceedings stemming from their participation in the political process. And as sensitivity to corporate governance issues has grown, our practice has expanded to perform “political audits” for companies and associations to assure directors and shareholders of their compliance with relevant statutes and regulations. The firm also has extensive experience in legislative redistricting, and representing state legislatures, governors, and political parties with the legal issues attached to the process.

Campaign Finance

Corporate/Trade Associations

We advise participants in the political process on how to most effectively make campaign contributions within the confines of the Federal Election Campaign Act and individual state laws. Our clients include Political Action Committees, issue advocacy and grassroots groups, and entities that wish to involve their employees and members. We provide frequent advice to corporations and trade associations about recent Federal Election Commission actions governing permissible activities by corporate officials. Our seminar on “Maximizing the Effectiveness of Your PAC Within the Confines of the Law" is frequently presented to our clients.

Candidates and Political Party Committees

The firm represents candidates and political party committees on federal and state levels. We represented both Bush-Cheney ’04 and Bush-Cheney 2000, as well campaign committees and leadership PACs of senior members of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. We count among our clients the Republican Governors Association, and a wide number of Governors, state legislators and state party committees. We have wide experience in political broadcast law, postal matters affecting political campaigns, and tax and employment issues relating to campaigns.

Donors

Individuals often come to us for advice on making campaign donations within the confines of the law and with maximum effectiveness, given the confusing nature of federal and state laws.

Political Vendors

As the size of campaigns and the cost of politics have grown, vendors in the political arena have turned to us for assistance in handling enforcement matters as well as the corporate, tax, and employment issues they face. Our current list of clients includes general consultants, media consultants, pollsters, and mail and telephone vendors.

Issue Advocacy

In recent years, those advocating a position on various issues have turned with increasing frequency to issue-advocacy campaigns that discuss matters of public importance and the positions of public officials and community leaders on those issues. We advise groups and individuals on their First Amendment rights concerning these campaigns, as well as assist in structuring organizations so that they comply with federal and state rules governing such efforts. As regulation on both the federal and state levels have increased, so too have issues concerning the Federal Election Commission and state agencies, the Federal Communications Commission and the United States Postal Service.

Lobbying Compliance

Federal Rules

The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, requires extensive compliance efforts by corporations, trade associations, and individuals who communicate with members of Congress and their staffs, the Administration, and certain regulatory agencies. We assist corporations and trade associations in setting up comprehensive systems to track their reportable activities.

State Rules

Equally challenging for corporations and trade associations is complying with the widely divergent rules in the different states. The firm's attorneys track changes in the states' laws and assist in compliance and reporting, often assisting clients manage multistate efforts involving lobbyists in each state.

Professionals

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