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In the current enforcement environment, corporations, major political donors, lobbyists, and PACs face unprecedented scrutiny of their compliance with campaign finance, lobbying disclosure, and government ethics laws.
Covington’s Election and Political Law Practice is one of the oldest and most prominent such practices in the United States. Corporations turn to Covington for its credibility and sophistication in providing compliance advice and for their most sensitive investigation and enforcement matters.
We were counsel of record in two of the 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 addition to our high-profile 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.
To help our clients keep out of harm’s way, we provide a range of compliance services, including:
We have extensive experience conducting sensitive and highly confidential internal 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.
Conducted an internal investigation for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) concerning a massive embezzlement scheme by its treasurer. We also represented the NRCC successfully in subsequent FEC and DOJ investigations.
Conducted an audit of Lobbying Disclosure Act compliance practices for a Wall Street financial institution.
Conducted a detailed analysis of pay-to-play issues for a major pharmaceutical company and have obtained favorable advisory opinions from state regulators for a variety of our corporate clients.
We represent numerous consulting firms that are registered under the Act in ongoing compliance with the statute’s disclosure requirements and audits of disclosures by the Department of Justice.
Represented Qualcomm in the first lawsuit ever brought under Delaware corporate law to attempt to compel disclosure of corporate political expenditures. We negotiated a rapid resolution and the Common Retirement Fund withdrew its lawsuit.
We advised a potential Presidential candidate on the pros and cons of forming one or more tax-exempt entities to promote public policy objectives in the run-up to the election.
We advised the board of trustees of a nationally recognized charitable organization with respect to the possible effects on the organization’s tax-exemption of the perceived candidacy of the organization’s president in a federal election.
We advise several major hedge funds on compliance with federal and state rules governing political contributions by government contractors, as well as lobbying registration laws that apply to hedge funds that seek investments from state and local public pension plans.
Pay-to-play laws do not just apply to investment advisers. Any company with government contracts is potentially subject to these rules. To that end, we regularly help our corporate clients develop and implement pay-to-play compliance policies and procedures.
Providing political law and tax advice to a highly publicized bi-partisan advocacy campaign. Covington devised a unique organizational structure to help accommodate the group’s political goals.
One of the leading FARA cases is Attorney General v. Covington & Burling, which established that the attorney-client privilege survives a FARA registration.
We represented a consulting firm in an internal investigation and retroactive registration for activities undertaken by the firm for a foreign government – the largest public FARA investigation in recent years.
Advise high-net-worth individuals on the vetting of political contributions and tax issues related to their support for tax-exempt groups.
We represented a think tank in an internal review of its foreign government funding in the context of suggestions that its activities may have implications under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Advise state Super PACs in multiple states on campaign finance and tax-exempt organizations law issues.
We successfully represented a political candidate in one of the first and highest-profile pay-to-play law investigations in the country.
We offer a subscription service that provides clients with updates on pay-to-play laws in all 50 states.
Covington has advised nominees and potential nominees to a variety of Presidential boards and commissions.
Covington advised major corporations on vetting issues related to cabinet appointments.
Covington successfully represented an individual who was vetted and confirmed for an appointment as the U.S. Ambassador to a major European country.
Advising a self-regulatory body on its government affairs activities, including advising on the tax treatment of these activities.
On behalf of one of the largest manufacturing companies in the world, conducted a government affairs compliance review and made recommendations concerning political law compliance practice.
Serve as outside political law compliance counsel to a major trade association, advising on a range of matters, including the Lobbying Disclosure Act and federal election laws.
Advising a multinational heavy equipment manufacturer on a range of federal and state campaign finance, lobbying disclosure, and government ethics matters.
Provided advice to a financial firm on registering under the LDA and assisting the firm with ongoing reporting obligations.
Defending a major regional bank in connection with an FEC investigation concerning a loan that the bank made to a Super PAC. We have also advised candidates and financial institutions on campaign loan questions.
Covington argued in support of creating a place in the regulatory regime for Super PACs, filing comments in support of the prevailing parities in FEC Advisory Opinions 2010-09 and 2010-10.
We serve as counsel to the political action committees of a major oil and gas company.
Served as counsel to one of the most significant Super PACs in the 2012 presidential election campaign, which succeeded in raising and spending over $75 million.
We provide a broad range of political advice to a major consumer-facing retailer active in federal, state and local elections.
On behalf of one of the world’s largest banks, obtained a dismissal of an FEC investigation concerning alleged campaign finance violations.
Obtained the dismissal of an FEC complaint against a prominent hedge fund manager.
Advise a major national Super PAC, as well as its allied social welfare organization, concerning a wide range of federal and state election law compliance issues.
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.
Advise major state Super PACs in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania on campaign finance and tax-exempt organization law issues.
Advise several major hedge funds on campaign finance and lobbying compliance issues, including state lobbying registration laws.
Provide election law and tax-exempt organizations law advice to a Super PAC operating at the state and local level in Illinois.
Advising a large oil and gas company on state campaign finance laws.
On behalf of a major financial institution, conducted a public affairs department compliance review and provided recommendations on structural changes to improve compliance practices, as well as process changes to avoid compliance risks.
The FEC found the members of the Board of Directors could contribute to the company’s PAC via deductions from quarterly payments.
For several large corporations, we developed and conducted federal PAC compliance and training programs, and have provided government ethics training to senior executives and company lobbyists.
We conducted a PAC compliance audit and staff training for a global aerospace and defense company.
We advise various major hedge funds on all of their campaign finance and lobbying compliance issues, including state lobbying registration laws that apply to hedge fund marketing activities.
Obtained dismissal of an FEC complaint against Chevron alleging contributions to a Super PAC were illegal under the federal law banning political contributions by federal government contracts.
Advising a non-profit organization in its response to a campaign finance complaint filed with a state enforcement agency.
Conducted an investigation of past campaign finance activities to identify potential compliance concerns.
We have advised numerous tax-exempt organizations regarding “issue advocacy” campaigns during election years.
On behalf of major fortune 500 clients, we have negotiated increased CPA-Zicklin scores, which improves their corporate governance profile, reducing the risk that those clients would be targets of litigation, shareholder proposals, and other initiatives.
We routinely advise corporations and trade associations in connection with corporate political disclosure policies and practices.
We represented an ethnic affinity organization, closely associated with a foreign political party, in successfully addressing a Department of Justice inquiry concerning the organization’s activities.
We won an FEC advisory opinion finding an on-line giving platform was compliant with the law. FEC AO 2011-19. We routinely provide clients advice on the application of campaign finance rules to new technology and innovated use of technology in political campaigns.
March 10, 2017, Congressional Quarterly
Robert Kelner is quoted in a Congressional Quarterly article regarding the impact of President Trump on government ethics law and the increased demand for experts. Commenting on the argument made by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) in its lawsuit against Trump alleging that the president’s business ties violate the Emoluments Clause in the ...
February 20, 2017, Inside Political Law
Commissioner Ann Ravel’s decision to resign from the Federal Election Commission will have short term and long term effects on an agency empowered to interpret and enforce the federal campaign finance laws and disclose the money raised and spent in federal elections. Its short term effects should be minimal. The statute requires four votes for … Continue ...
February 2, 2017, Inside Political Law
The Federal Election Commission has announced contribution limits for the 2017-2018 election cycle. The new limits are effective January 1, 2017. The FEC did not change the limit on the amount an individual can contribution to a candidate, leaving the limit at $2700 per election. Because the primary and general count as separate elections, individuals may … ...
February 2, 2017, Covington Alert
The Federal Election Commission has announced contribution limits for the 2017-2018 election cycle. The new limits are effective January 1, 2017.
January 31, 2017, Inside Political Law
President Donald Trump this weekend signed his promised “drain the swamp” Executive Order, which imposes ethics restrictions on incoming and outgoing Trump Administration appointees. Incoming appointees would, of course, do well to carefully review the provisions of the Executive Order. But companies that deal with the Administration—whether by lobbying the ...
January 31, 2017, Covington Alert
January 30, 2017, Inside Political Law
President Trump signed an executive order on ethics this weekend that is similar in key respects to the Obama Administration’s executive order governing ethical conduct by presidential appointees. But in one key respect it is significantly broader in scope than the previous Obama executive order. The Trump executive order incorporates the concept of “lobbying ...
January 24, 2017, Inside Political Law
Earlier this month, newly-installed Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens issued Executive Order 2, applying strict ethics rules to executive branch employees in that state. The order includes a ban on gifts from lobbyists, conflicts of interest rules, and a “revolving door” provision that prohibits employees who leave Greitens’ office from later lobbying his ...
January 23, 2017, Associated Press
Robert Kelner is quoted in an Associated Press article regarding a lawsuit alleging that President Trump is violating the emoluments clause in the Constitution by allowing his business to accept payments from foreign governments. According to Kelner, "CREW's argument for how it has standing to bring this lawsuit barely passes the laugh test." He adds, "The ...
January 10, 2017, Inside Political Law
Covington today released an updated version of its manual for Chiefs of Staff to Members of Congress concerning best practices for responding to government investigations of Members and their staff. Titled “A How-To Guide for Chiefs of Staff,” the manual describes how government investigations unfold and the steps that Chiefs of Staff need to take … Continue ...
January 10, 2017, Covington Alert
“Call the office asap!”
Those may be the most feared words in the English language for Chiefs of Staff to Members of Congress. This primer covers what to do when that call reveals that a Member or staffer is under federal investigation.
January 4, 2017, Inside Political Law
The start of 2017 brings two changes to the federal Office of Government Ethics (“OGE”) rules for executive branch officers and employees. First, important changes to the executive branch gift rules went into effect this week. We detailed those changes in this alert. Second, OGE’s overhaul of the Executive Branch Ethics Program regulations (5 C.F.R. … Continue ...
January 3, 2017, Congressional Quarterly News
Robert Kelner is quoted in a Congressional Quarterly News article regarding the decision by House Republicans to reverse a vote to roll back the authority of the Office of Congressional Ethics. According to Kelner, "Changes are definitely needed at OCE, but I question the politics of how this was handled.” The office does not have subpoena power and so has ...
December 16, 2016, American Banker
Robert Kelner is quoted in an American Banker article regarding Steven Mnuchin’s nomination to serve as Treasury secretary under Donald Trump. According to Kelner, Mnuchin's financial industry background is normal for a Treasury secretary. "Fundamentally I don't think it's any different than the issues that every Treasury secretary faces."
December 13, 2016, Inside Political Law
As the President-elect begins to nominate individuals for Senate-confirmed positions in his administration, one of the major hurdles these individuals face is the statutory requirement that the Director of the Office of Government Ethics (“OGE”) review and certify a public disclosure of each source of income exceeding $200 and each property interest exceeding ...
December 13, 2016, The Wall Street Journal
Robert Kelner is quoted by The Wall Street Journal in an article regarding Donald Trump’s Twitter posts announcing that his sons and executives will run his business operations during his time in the White House. According to Kelner, the Office of Government Ethics is an executive agency that can interpret and apply conflict-of-interest laws to many ...
December 13, 2016, Covington Alert
December 1, 2016, Los Angeles Times
Robert Lenhard is quoted in a Los Angeles Times article regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet. According to Lenhard, "Presidential appointees may not have personal financial interests that will be directly and particularly affected in a substantial way by their decisions as government officials.”
November 30, 2016, The Wall Street Journal
Robert Kelner is quoted by The Wall Street Journal in an article regarding tweets sent out by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) following President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement that he would exit his family business. According to Kelner, “It is highly irregular that OGE is weighing in publicly regarding the President-elect’s approach to conflicts.” He ...
November 28, 2016, Bloomberg
Robert Kelner is quoted in a Bloomberg article regarding the possibility that the renegotiation of the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China’s lease at Trump Tower could cause conflicts. According to Kelner, the emoluments clause is intended to deal with a gift or salary paid by a foreign leader or government to the president. “If we start to see foreign ...
November 23, 2016, Inside Political Law
Corporations, trade associations, and others who interact with federal executive branch employees should be aware of the Office of Government Ethics’ (OGE) recent amendments to the executive branch gift rules, which go into effect on January 1, 2017. Seeking to encourage transparency and advance public confidence in the integrity of federal officials, OGE ...
November 23, 2016, Los Angeles Times
Robert Lenhard is quoted in a Los Angeles Times article regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s potential business conflicts as president. According to Lenhard, “To my eye, the primary concern is ensuring that as he makes political decisions as president, that they’re understood to be broad policy decisions and not decisions driven by the desire to benefit ...
November 23, 2016, Covington Alert
November 22, 2016, Bloomberg
Robert Kelner is quoted in a Bloomberg article regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s business ties to Jose E.B. Antonio, chief executive and controlling stakeholder of Century Properties and special government envoy to the U.S. for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and the potential for conflicts of interest stemming from this relationship. According to ...
Robert Kelner is quoted in a Bloomberg article regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s potential business conflicts and laws that apply. According to Kelner, unless it can be shown that a foreign government is passing funds through a particular company to Trump, “I don’t think the emoluments clause would be implicated -- it’s extremely remote.” He adds, “I will ...
November 17, 2016, Inside Political Law
With Election Day 2016 in the books, the political world turns to the transition of power and the January 20, 2017 Inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. With the swearing in of the new President and Vice President will come the traditional balls, parties, and receptions. The inauguration and related events … Continue ...
November 17, 2016, The Wall Street Journal
Robert Kelner is quoted by The Wall Street Journal in an article regarding the role of President-elect Donald Trump’s children, and the potential for conflicts of interest. According to Kelner, most federal officials must “recuse themselves from particular matters that would impact their own or a family member’s financial interests,” which would include Mr. ...
November 17, 2016, Covington Alert
With Election Day 2016 in the books, the political world turns to the transition of power and the January 20, 2017 Inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. With the swearing in of the new President and Vice President will come the traditional balls, parties, and receptions. The inauguration and related events are costly, ...
November 16, 2016, The Hill
Robert Kelner is quoted by The Hill in an article about how lobbyists will fit into Donald Trump’s administration. According to Kelner, “I’m sure [the Trump administration] will not adopt Obama’s executive order on ethics, but because Trump made a big deal of announcing an ethics reform package during the campaign, they will probably adopt some version of it ...
November 16, 2016, Law360
November 15, 2016, Covington Alert
Over the next nine weeks, the Trump Presidential Transition team will formulate policy and staffing recommendations for the new administration. This alert gives a broad overview of the Transition and the laws that regulate interactions with Transition team members on issues related to appointments and policy recommendations. Persons interested in this topic may ...
November 14, 2016, ABA Journal
Robert Kelner is quoted in an ABA Journal article regarding Donald Trump’s plan to put his business interests in a blind trust run by his children. According to Kelner, Trump might even be able to engage in self-dealing without violating statutes. “I can’t actually think of any existing legal restrictions on his engaging in self-dealing other than the rules ...
November 13, 2016, Bloomberg
Robert Kelner is quoted in a Bloomberg article regarding the role Donald Trump’s children will play now that he has been elected, and the potential for conflicts-of-interest. According to Kelner, there are few conflicts-of-interest laws that apply to presidential administration teams. “This is about appearances rather than actual legal compliance issues,” says ...
November 11, 2016, Financial Times
Robert Kelner is quoted in a Financial Times article regarding the open lawsuits against Donald Trump, and how these could affect his presidency. “An interesting question is how are all these different civil lawsuits going to play out in the background of his presidency and how distracting that will be and how are they going to administer that,” Kelner says.
November 10, 2016, Covington Alert
With the election over, the process of selecting and vetting individuals to fill the next administration’s key appointed positions is quickly shifting into high gear. For those who are called to serve in such positions, the decision to enter the process may be one of the most important and life-changing decisions they will make. Accordingly, it is critical for ...
November 9, 2016, Bloomberg
Robert Kelner is quoted in a Bloomberg article regarding Donald Trump’s potential conflicts of interest as president. According to Kelner, “I can’t actually think of any existing legal restrictions on his engaging in self-dealing other than the rules that are specified in the Constitution.”
October 21, 2016, The Washington Post
Lindsay Burke and Robert Lenhard are quoted in a Washington Post article regarding laws governing political communications in the workplace. According to Burke employees of private companies are often surprised they don’t have the First Amendment rights they do outside the workplace. She adds that although companies can’t prohibit workers from talking about ...
October 18, 2016, The Center for Public Integrity
Robert Kelner is quoted in an article by the Center for Public Integrity regarding Donald Trump’s lobbying and campaign finance proposals. According to Kelner, “I am very skeptical that they would actually be implemented in a robust way, especially because his proposal is very weak on details.”
October 13, 2016, Politico
Robert Lenhard is quoted in a Politico article regarding speculation about Donald Trump’s CEO-heavy Cabinet, if he is elected. Lenhard, commenting on the financial scrutiny CEOs would have to face, says business executive nominees have several options to avoid conflicts of interest, including selling their assets or placing them in blind trusts. He adds that ...
October 5, 2016, Law360
September 29, 2016, The Hill
Rob Kelner is quoted by The Hill in an article regarding the imposition of stricter ethics rules on federal employees seeking jobs in the private sector. According to Kelner, “The upshot is, executive branch employees should assume that they’re going to have to recuse themselves very early in the process of being considered by a particular company. That’s just ...
September 14, 2016, Law360
September 7, 2016, Roll Call
Robert Kelner is quoted in a Roll Call article regarding political donations and involvement of lobbyists in primary elections. According to Kelner, “There’s a general assumption that contributions against an incumbent who is re-elected will cause that incumbent to be very unhappy with the contributor.” It would likely violate House or Senate rules for a ...
August 30, 2016, Covington Alert
As election season enters full swing, with political candidates at all levels actively soliciting campaign donations from individuals and companies, it is an ideal time for all companies to review the policies and procedures in place for political donations. While the SEC’s pay-to-play rules governing registered investment advisers and their “covered associates” ...
August 30, 2016, Law360
August 26, 2016, Bloomberg
Rob Kelner is quoted in a Bloomberg article regarding a loophole in the laws governing political spending limits, allowing the Democratic party to collect millions of dollars more in donations from Hillary Clinton’s wealthiest donors. According to Kelner, “I’m not aware of any case law or regulations that would prohibit a state party from transferring to a ...
August 25, 2016, Covington Advisory
This month, the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), an obscure, almost 80-year old, statute has rocketed to national headlines. FARA, a sweeping federal criminal statute, requires certain individuals and companies acting on behalf of foreign principals to register with the Department of Justice and file regular detailed reports of their activities. As we ...
August 23, 2016, WNYC
Rob Kelner appeared on "The Takeaway" discussing the legal and ethical issues that may arise from Donald Trump’s plan to have his children run his operations, if elected, which could be seen as a conflict of interest. “The whole concept of the blind trust really doesn’t work for Donald Trump even if he has his family take over his operations. He’s still, of ...
August 21, 2016, The Hill
Rob Kelner is quoted by The Hill in an article regarding Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) compliance and enforcement following reports that have surfaced about Paul Manafort and Rick Gates’ work in Ukraine. According to Kelner, “I would be very surprised if you can find a case that’s a plain old vanilla FARA violation. There is usually another plus factor, ...
August 19, 2016, Washington Internet Daily
Rob Kelner is quoted in a Washington Internet Daily article regarding the possible implications of the Backpage decision on Congress’ future subpoena power. According to Kelner, if the D.C. Circuit squashes the subpoena, “that would have a very dramatic effect, I think, because it's so extraordinarily rare for a congressional subpoena ever to be quashed under ...
August 15, 2016, Covington Advisory
Companies are increasingly hiring out of the federal workforce, only to find that their new hires are restricted by “revolving door” rules that prohibit their participation in certain matters—sometimes for a limited time, sometimes permanently. New rules issued recently by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (“OGE”) serve as a reminder that, even before hiring ...
July 21, 2016, Law360
John Veroneau is quoted in a Law360 article regarding reported BigLaw LDA filing numbers at the midyear point. According to Veroneau, Covington’s LDA filings “exceed our levels from a year ago, which is especially good in light of reports that overall federal lobbying expenditures are down this year.” He continues, “We are also very pleased with some very good ...
July 18, 2016, CNN
Rob Kelner is quoted in a CNN article regarding Trump’s increased campaign efforts to target voters and gain support. Commenting on Trump’s ability to use funds intended for building renovations at political parties’ headquarters, Kelner says, “I do think the RNC or DNC could use their building funds to fund state party facilities.” He continues, “There is very ...
July 13, 2016, Covington Alert
In December 2015, we informed readers of the new requirement for 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations to notify the IRS upon formation. Enforcement of the requirement was delayed until the IRS was able to issue an appropriate form. The IRS recently announced that 501(c)(4) organizations may now register on the IRS website.
July 7, 2016, Covington Alert
As the amount of money raised in federal elections surges and changes to fundraising rules increasingly favor large individual donors, there is rising pressure on—as well as opportunities for—senior executives to help raise funds for federal candidates. However, this is an area of law rich in counterintuitive rules. Familiarity with those rules can help avoid ...
June 29, 2016, Covington Alert
The Ferrari carrying former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell appears to have made a U-turn this week on its way to the federal penitentiary. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court set a new standard for federal corruption cases as it vacated Governor McDonnell’s conviction. McDonnell v. United States, 579 U.S. ___ (June 27, 2016). The court held that a public ...
June 9, 2016, Covington Alert
On Friday, three Federal Election Commission (FEC) Commissioners provided a clear description of their understanding of the facts and law that led them to oppose opening an investigation into whether Murray Energy coerced its employees into making political contributions. Statement of Reasons of Chairman Petersen and Commissioners Hunter and Goodman, FEC MUR ...
May 23, 2016, Covington Alert
As we move toward the 2016 general election, campaign activity at the federal, state, and local levels continues to heat up. Super PACs again promise to play a prominent role in federal races, while at the same time impacting a wider range of non-federal races further down the ballot.
May 21, 2016, CNN
Rob Kelner appeared on CNN’s “CNN Newsroom” to discuss Donald Trump’s financial disclosures that he has filed with the Federal Election Commission. According to Kelner, “The form doesn't call for a great deal of detail. It allows you to report, for example, ranges of income, rather than exact amounts, which is a little different than a tax return that you might ...
May 18, 2016, The Washington Post
Rob Kelner is quoted in a Washington Post article regarding the impact of changes to campaign fundraising rules in 2014 on donations to this year’s presidential campaigns. According to Kelner, “It is a partial return to the soft-money days, and in my own view, it doesn’t go far enough.” He continues, “The end of soft money dramatically disempowered the political ...
May 12, 2016, Covington Alert
Corporate mergers and acquisitions often overlook political law compliance issues—including whether the acquired company has a PAC—until after the transaction is complete and Day One has come and gone. We recommend considering PAC issues during the due diligence review to ensure there are no legal issues to be addressed in the acquired entity, and to prepare ...
May 5, 2016, Covington Alert
Federal law prohibits contributions and expenditures made “directly or indirectly” by foreign nationals “in connection with a federal, state, or local election.” 52 U.S.C. § 30121; 11 C.F.R. § 110.20. It is also unlawful to provide substantial assistance to help foreign nationals violate that ban, or to solicit, receive, or accept contributions from foreign ...
April 29, 2016, Covington Alert
The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United expanded the rights of corporations to engage in political activity, particularly concerning their First Amendment right to express their views to the public about candidates for public office. With the upcoming 2016 presidential election and the increased use of mobile technology for personal political ...
April 27, 2016, The Wall Street Journal
Robert Kelner is quoted by The Wall Street Journal in an article discussing delegates’ use of GoFundMe pages to offset the costs needed to attend national nominating conventions. According to Kelner, “In a normal election, campaigns have more important things to spend their money on than delegate expenses.” He continues, “This year, all the old rules are being ...
April 13, 2016, Covington Alert
Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) regulations permit a corporation to communicate with its “restricted” or “solicitable class” on any subject, including electoral advocacy and political fundraising. See 11 C.F.R. § 114.3(a). This includes solicitations of contributions to the corporation’s PAC. We frequently see questions arising about who falls within the ...
April 4, 2016, The Wall Street Journal
Zack Parks is quoted in this Wall Street Journal article regarding political spending and disclosure. According to Parks, "Companies need to think strategically about these issues.” He adds, “Companies that ignore disclosure initiatives have been the target of shareholder resolutions, bad press and lawsuits. But kitchen-sink disclosure isn't risk free.”
March 18, 2016, Corporate Counsel
February 16, 2016, Associated Press
Robert Kelner is quoted in this AP article discussing the intrusive interrogation that all prospective Supreme Court Justices face during the vetting process. According to Kelner, "I always tell clients that they should think long and hard about whether they want to go through the process at all." He continues, "You give up any semblance of privacy. Your name ...
February 2, 2016, Marketplace
Robert Kelner speaks to Marketplace about what super PACS are able to do with leftover funds once candidates suspend their campaigns, in light of Martin O’Malley and Mike Huckabee’s exits from the 2016 presidential primaries. According to Kelner, “Super PACS have very wide discretion on what they can do with left over funds." He continues, “They can’t start ...
January 22, 2016, The Wall Street Journal
Robert Kelner is quoted by The Wall Street Journal in an article discussing Sanders’ use of his official position and related accounts to boost his presidential campaign efforts. According to Kelner, while the standards for using official accounts are “notoriously fuzzy,” Mr. Sanders’ operation is unusual. “Generally, members of Congress are quite careful to use ...
January 19, 2016, Covington Alert
January 11, 2016, Covington Alert
October 26, 2015, Campaigns & Elections
October 22, 2015, Politico
Robert Kelner is quoted in this Politico article regarding Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Kelner stresses the need to be truthful, “There’s a tremendous tension between her political incentives and the advice she must be getting from her lawyers to be extremely factual.”
October 8, 2015, Covington Alert
June 12, 2015, NPR, All Things Considered
Rob Kelner is quoted regarding a political consultant that will be sentenced for the arcane felony of coordinating activities between a congressional campaign and a super PAC.
June 1, 2015, U.S. News
Senator Jon Kyl is quoted in this article on Lindsey Graham announcing that he will run for President:
"Adds former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, a friend of Graham's who is also advising and helping raise money for three other GOP candidates: “It’s not to say some of the others don’t have international affairs and national security credentials, but his are the ...
March/April 2015, The Corporate Governance Advisor
February 12, 2015, The Washington Post
Covington's Tony Herman is quoted regarding Tyler Harber, a Republican political operative pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally directing a political action committee to buy ads to help a congressional candidate whose campaign he managed.
“The prudent course here is for candidates and campaign managers to take it as a signal,” said Tony Herman, a former ...
February 5, 2015, Law360
February 4, 2015, Covington Advisory
February 2, 2015, Covington E-Alert
January 30, 2015, The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation
January 27, 2015, Covington E-Alert
December 17, 2014, Covington E-Alert
December 10, 2014, Covington E-Alert
November 3, 2014, The Washington Post
Covington partner Rob Kelner is quoted in this article regarding campaign finance:
"“If you are a believer in Citizens United, as I am, you actually should advocate clear rules on coordination,” said Robert Kelner, an election law attorney at Covington & Burling who advises corporations, super PACs and wealthy donors on both sides of the aisle. “If there’s no ...
September 23, 2014, The New York Times
Covington partner Rob Kelner is quoted regarding conservative author and documentary filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza being spared prison time on Tuesday after pleading guilty earlier this year to violating federal campaign finance laws:
"When Mr. D’Souza entered his guilty plea, Judge Berman said he could face up to two years in prison. The federal sentencing ...
September 8, 2014, Law360
September 2, 2014, The Washington Post
Covington partner Rob Kelner spoke to The Washington Post on political mega-donors since the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling.
"Even though the additional millions flowing to candidates and parties “is real money, in the grand scheme of our campaign finance system, it’s background noise,” said Robert Kelner, a Washington campaign finance ...
August 25, 2014, The New York Times
This article references the blog post, The FEC: Where a “Tie” Can Be (Almost) a “Win,” by Tony Herman for Covington blog InsidePoliticalLaw.
August 18, 2014, LXBN TV
Covington's Zack Parks was interviewed by The Lexblog Network regarding the Obama Administration loosening its ban on having lobbyists sit on federal committees, boards and commissions.
August 13, 2014, Covington E-Alert
August 13, 2014, Politico
Covington partner Rob Kelner is quoted regarding campaign spending limits and a Securities and Exchange Commission rule that limits contributions from Wall Street financiers to governors and other state officials running for federal office:
"Campaign finance lawyers said they had always expected someone to challenge the SEC’s rule in court, but it was difficult ...
July 2, 2014, Politico
Covington partner Rob Kelner is quoted regarding a federal appeals court ruling that free-spending political groups can lose the right to make unlimited expenditures in certain situations.
“We’ve all understood that a super PAC needs to operate in an environment where it is not coordinating with candidates,” said Robert Kelner, chair of Covington and Burling’s ...
June 23, 2014, The Washington Post
Bob Lenhard is quoted regarding the campaign finance investigation of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
"Political parties, for instance, are restricted from joining forces with independent groups. Yet this year, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has tweeted out links to gauzy biographical footage of its candidates, along with suggested scripts attacking ...
April 29, 2014, The Hill
Covington partner Holly Fechner is quoted regarding women in the lobbying industry.
April 2, 2014, Covington E-Alert
April 2, 2014, NPR
Covington partner Robert Lenhard is interviewed regarding the use of B-roll footage in campaign advertisements.
February 18, 2014, Covington E-Alert
February 6, 2014, Covington E-Alert
February 5, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC, February 5, 2014 — Covington & Burling released its annual report on the state of the Federal Election Commission today in advance of its day-long seminar addressing the growing issues surrounding corporate political activity and compliance.
The report produced by Covington’s election and political law practice group, details the FEC’s most ...
January 7, 2014, Covington Advisory
October 2013, The Banking Law Journal
June 2013, Wall Street Lawyer
May 16, 2013, Covington E-Alert
March 29, 2013, Covington E-Alert
February 11, 2013, Covington E-Alert
January 31, 2013, Covington E-Alert
January 8, 2013, Law360
January 3, 2013, Covington E-Alert
November 13, 2012, Law360
November 8, 2012, Politico
Holly Fechner was quoted in this article.
October 18, 2012, The Weekly Standard
May 2, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC, May 2, 2012 — D.C. Super Lawyers selected 64 Covington & Burling lawyers for its 2012 list of top legal talent. Super Lawyers selects no more than five percent of the total lawyers who practice in Washington based on peer review and the publication’s independent research.
Deborah Garza and Robert Long have been named among the “Top 100” for ...
May 1, 2012, Covington E-Alert
April 3, 2012, Covington E-Alert
March 28, 2012, Covington E-Alert
February 14, 2012, Covington E-Alert
February 13, 2012, Covington E-Alert
February 6, 2012, Covington E-Alert
January 25, 2012, Covington Advisory
November 30, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC, November 30, 2011 — Washingtonian magazine has named 34 Covington & Burling attorneys as “Best Lawyers” in its December issue. The biennial list, compiled by the magazine’s editorial staff, identifies leading lawyers in the Washington area.
Of the approximately 800 “Best Lawyers” identified in the issue, Washingtonian included profiles of 31 ...
November 17, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO, November 17, 2011 — Covington & Burling helped secure approval from the Federal Election Commission today for an innovative shopping program that could change the way individuals make campaign contributions by making it easier for small donors to participate in the political process.
Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., GivingSphere allows ...
October 19, 2011, Covington E-Alert
September 22, 2011, Covington E-Alert
Fall 2011, University of San Francisco Law Review
July 11, 2011, Covington E-Alert
June 10, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC, June 10, 2011 — Covington & Burling LLP received 123 individual mentions and 45 practice mentions in Chambers USA 2011. The guidebook, which ranks lawyers by state and national practice area, is designed to identify the most skilled legal practitioners based on the qualities most valued by clients.
Here are the Covington lawyers and practices ...
May 25, 2011, Government Contracts Law360
May 18, 2011, Covington E-Alert
May 13, 2011, Covington E-Alert
March 14, 2011, Covington Advisory
March 8, 2011, Covington E-Alert
March 2011, Investment Advisers Association
February 9, 2011, Covington E-Alert
February 7, 2011, Covington E-Alert
January 24, 2011, Covington E-Alert
December 16, 2010, Covington E-Alert
November 22, 2010, Covington E-Alert
November 5, 2010, Covington E-Alert
October 20, 2010, Covington Report
July 2, 2010, Covington E-Alert
July 1, 2010, Covington Report
June 16, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC, June 16, 2010 — Covington & Burling LLP received 112 individual mentions and 44 practice mentions in Chambers USA 2010. The guidebook, which ranks lawyers by state and national practice area, is designed to identify the most skilled legal practitioners based on the qualities most valued by clients.
Here are the Covington lawyers and practices ...
May 10, 2010, Covington E-Alert
March 25, 2010, Covington E-Alert
March 10, 2010, Covington Report
February 25, 2010, Covington E-Alert
February 17, 2010, Covington E-Alert
February 1, 2010, Covington E-Alert
January 21, 2010, Covington E-Alert
January 11, 2010, Covington E-Alert
December 9, 2009, Covington Report
November/December 2009, The European Lawyer
WASHINGTON, DC, November 23, 2009 — Twenty-five Covington & Burling LLP attorneys are recognized as “Top Lawyers” in the December issue of Washingtonian magazine. The list, compiled by the magazine’s editorial staff, identifies leading lawyers in the Washington area.
Of the “Top Lawyers,” Washingtonian identified 30 as “stars of the bar.” Among them is Michael ...
November 6, 2009, Covington E-Alert
September 28, 2009, Covington E-Alert
September 23, 2009, Covington Report
September 15, 2009, Covington E-Alert
September 9, 2009, Covington E-Alert
August 11, 2009, Covington Report
August 5, 2009, Covington E-Alert
August 3, 2009, Covington E-Alert
July 28, 2009, Covington E-Alert
July 6, 2009, Covington E-Alert
July 2, 2009, Covington E-Alert
June 11, 2009, Covington Report
May 11, 2009, Covington Report
March 24, 2009, Covington E-Alert
March 12, 2009, Covington E-Alert
February 17, 2009, Covington E-Alert
February 4, 2009, Covington E-Alert
January 26, 2009, Covington E-Alert
January 16, 2009, Covington E-Alert
December 5, 2008, Covington Advisory
November 5, 2008, Covington E-Alert
September 24, 2008, Covington E-Alert
August 22, 2008
July 17, 2008, Covington E-Alert
July 1, 2008, Covington E-Alert
June 25, 2008, Covington E-Alert
WASHINGTON, DC, April 14, 2008 — Covington & Burling LLP is pleased to announce that Robert Lenhard, who previously served as Chairman of the Federal Election Commission, has joined the firm’s Election & Political Law Practice Group as of counsel. Mr. Lenhard will be resident in Covington’s Washington office. Mr. Lenhard served as a presidentially appointed FEC ...
2008, chapter in Political Activity, Lobbying Laws and Gift Rules Guide (3d ed.)
December 12, 2007, Covington E-Alert
WASHINGTON, DC, November 30, 2007 — Nineteen Covington & Burling LLP attorneys are recognized as “Top Lawyers” in the December 2007 issue of Washingtonian magazine. The list, compiled by the magazine’s editorial staff based on peer recommendations, identifies leading lawyers in the Greater Washington area. Of the “Top Lawyers,” Washingtonian identified 30 as the ...
August 13, 2007, Legal Times
August 6, 2007, Covington E-Alert
June 7, 2007, Covington E-Alert
January 8, 2007, Covington E-Alert
April 17, 2006, Covington E-Alert
March 31, 2006, Covington E-Alert
June 28, 2005
Washington, D.C., June 28, 2005 - Covington & Burling and Democracy, Data & Communications, L.L.C. (DDC) today announced an alliance to provide integrated support services for political action committees. The firms will offer joint, high-level strategic counsel for responding to challenges associated with PAC compliance and fundraising. Both Covington and DDC ...
5/31/2005, Covington E-Alert
February 28, 2005, Roll Call
September 30, 2004
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 30, 2004 - Covington & Burling announced the election of five new partners, effective October 1. Stuart C. Stock, chair of the firm's management committee, commented: "These fine lawyers very much reflect the strength, excellence, and diversity of the firm." Covington's newest partners and their backgrounds are as follows:
April 2004, Election Law Journal
February 18, 2002, Legal Times
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