Brian Smith provides strategic and legal advice on matters that require substantial political, reputational, or government relations considerations. He represents companies and individuals in high-profile or high-risk investigations, particularly congressional investigations, criminal investigations with political implications, and investigations related to political law compliance. He has significant experience in crisis management, where he advises clients facing combined legal, political, and media relations risks. His practice also includes the development and execution of government relations initiatives, including securing the U.S. government’s political support on behalf of U.S. companies facing international legal issues.
Mr. Smith is a leader in the firm’s congressional investigations practice. He frequently prepares senior corporate officials appearing before Congress in contentious oversight investigations. His recent experiences include preparing multiple CEOs and other senior executives of Fortune 100 companies. Mr. Smith has handled oversight investigations for clients in sectors including consumer products, financial services, pharmaceuticals, health care, internet services, manufacturing, and government contracts.
Mr. Smith has experience in a wide variety of subject matters, including international trade and affairs, government contracts, immigration, aviation, clean energy and climate, and telecommunications policy. Mr. Smith also has significant experience in legislative drafting; he has prepared multiple bills enacted by Congress as well as legislation passed in nearly every state legislature.
Prior to joining Covington, Mr. Smith served in the White House as Assistant to the Special Counsel to President Clinton. In that capacity, he handled matters related to the White House’s response to investigations, including four independent counsel investigations, a Justice Department task force investigation, two major oversight investigations by the House of Representatives and the Senate, and several other congressional oversight investigations.
Mr. Smith is an Associate Professorial Lecturer in Law at the George Washington University Law School.
- Representing a world-leading consumer products manufacturer in a major investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding high-profile recalls of over-the-counter medicines. The investigation included multiple hearings and testimony by two senior corporate executives, including the CEO.
- Representing an international consulting firm in a Department of Justice inquiry under the Foreign Agents Registration Act and associated media scrutiny.
- Representing a former senior government official in an inquiry by the House Energy and Commerce Committee related to federal renewable energy loan guarantees.
- Representing a major financial services company in congressional investigations conducted by the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on the Judiciary concerning residential foreclosures. A significant complicating factor was widespread private and state attorneys general litigation on the same subject matter.
- Representing a former CEO of a Fortune 100 financial institution called to testify before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.
- Representing a major federal contractor in an oversight hearing conducted by the Senate Armed Services Committee concerning the contractor’s activities in overseas military operations.
- Representing a major pharmaceutical company in a lengthy investigation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding alleged off-label marketing of pharmaceutical products.
- The White House, Office of the Counsel to the President (1997-1998)
- U.S. Department of Labor, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Labor (1996)
- U.S. Department of Labor, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs (1995)
- Rep. Alan Wheat (D-Mo.), Assistant Campaign Manager (1994)
- For a national organization dedicated to youth justice, prepared legislation implementing major revisions to the federal program targeted at juvenile justice and delinquency prevention.
- Provided advice on legislation related to the treatment of detainees (in connection with the firm’s Guantanamo Bay detainee representation).
- Advised a homeless advocacy organization on amendments to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
Publications and Speeches