Covington’s Election and Political Law practice is one of the oldest in the Nation. In addition to our high-profile election law litigation and Federal Election Commission enforcement practice, we advise numerous Fortune 50 and Fortune 500 corporations, trade associations, financial institutions, political party committees, PACs, candidates, lobbying firms, and high net-worth individuals concerning compliance with the increasingly complex array of laws governing the political process. These include federal and state campaign finance, lobbying disclosure, and government ethics laws. We are also nationally known for our highly specialized expertise with respect to federal, state and local “pay to play” laws that restrict political contributions by government contractors. Many banks, hedge funds, private equity funds, and major corporations look to us for ongoing pay to play counseling and compliance programs.
Covington has litigated some of the most important election law cases of the last thirty years. We were counsel in the two seminal U.S. Supreme Court cases interpreting the Federal Election Campaign Act -- Buckley v. Valeo and McConnell v. FEC. In McConnell, we prepared the consolidated Supreme Court brief on behalf of both Republican and Democratic political party committees. The firm regularly defends corporate and political clients in Federal Election Commission (FEC) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) civil and criminal campaign finance investigations.
In the current enforcement environment, corporations, political figures, and lobbyists face unprecedented scrutiny of their compliance with campaign finance, lobbying disclosure, and ethics laws. To help our clients keep out of harm’s way, we provide a range of compliance services, including:
- Formation of political action committees, and advice concerning PAC governance and compliance.
- Drafting and implementation of organization-wide political law compliance programs and policies.
- Training for corporate executives and lobbyists on political law compliance.
- Compliance audits to identify and resolve existing weaknesses in internal controls and compliance practices related to political fundraising and lobbying.
- Review of proposed state and local political contributions by corporations and their PACs for compliance with the 50 states’ range of conflicting campaign finance rules.
- Advice concerning “pay to play” laws for government contractors and the rules governing political contributions by municipal securities dealers and investment advisers.
Our Election and Political Law Practice Group is often engaged to conduct internal investigations for major corporations when potential violations of campaign finance and lobbying laws are discovered. We have extensive experience conducting sensitive and highly confidential investigations, as well as with managing the aftermath of such investigations. Our counseling of clients is greatly informed by our deep enforcement and litigation expertise in political law matters.
Although many of the most significant matters that we handle are not matters of public record, some recent representative matters include the following:
- We represented Freddie Mac in the largest-ever FEC enforcement action against a corporation, and negotiated a global FEC settlement on behalf of the corporation and its former officers, which resulted in no penalties for individual Freddie Mac officers and executives.
- For several large corporations, we recently developed and conducted federal PAC compliance and training programs, and have provided government ethics training to senior executives and company lobbyists.
- We were retained by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) to conduct an internal investigation concerning a massive embezzlement scheme by its treasurer. We also represented the NRCC successfully in subsequent FEC and DOJ investigations.
- A major Wall Street financial institution retained us to conduct an audit of its Lobbying Disclosure Act compliance practices.
- We recently provided a detailed analysis of pay to play issues to a major pharmaceutical company and have obtained favorable advisory opinions from state regulators for a variety of our corporate clients.
- We successfully obtained a dismissal by the FEC of a complaint filed against a nationally known television personality.
- We recently defended a well known public relations firm in an audit by the Foreign Agents Registration Act unit of the DOJ.