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For over 40 years, Covington has helped clients solve the most challenging federal and state campaign finance law problems, unraveling the complicated web of campaign finance, disclosure and tax laws that regulate political activity. We regularly represent corporations, corporate officers, PACs, political parties, candidates, and politically active individuals. Whether it is compliance advice or enforcement defense, we bring a wealth of practical experience and an understanding of the law and the agencies that enforce it.
The firm is a well-known and respected player in Federal Election Commission proceedings. Our practice group includes a former Chairman and former General Counsel of the FEC, and numerous other lawyers who have represented clients before the FEC. We draw on our extensive FEC regulatory experience to help clients shape a strategy to achieve the maximum effectiveness of their political activity in a compliant manner. At the same time, we have the resources and specialized expertise to decisively litigate FEC cases through the entire enforcement process and in U.S. District Court. We also routinely advise clients on compliance with analogous state law issues.
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.
On behalf of one of the world’s largest banks, obtained a dismissal of an FEC investigation concerning alleged campaign finance violations.
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.
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.
Obtained the dismissal of an FEC complaint against a prominent hedge fund manager.
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.
The FEC found the members of the Board of Directors could contribute to the company’s PAC via deductions from quarterly payments.
June 29, 2016, Inside Political Law
The Ferrari carrying former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell appears to have made a U-turn this week on its way to the federal penitentiary. Covington released today a Client Alert on the Supreme Court’s decision in McDonnell v. United States, a decision which vacated Governor McDonnell’s conviction and redraws the lines for corruption prosecutions. The Court ...
June 1, 2016, Inside Political Law
A recent settlement between the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) and Massachusetts Republican Party may highlight an emerging trend: state parties using federal preemption to avoid strict state campaign finance laws. At issue was whether the Massachusetts Republican Party could use funds from its federal campaign account to pay for ...
March 31, 2016, Inside Political Law
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Tuesday that it will allow further comment on a pay-to-play rule proposed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). As we discussed previously, if the SEC approves FINRA’s pay-to-play rule, it would clarify that investment advisers are allowed to hire third party solicitors if they are subject to ...
March 28, 2016, Inside Political Law
On Friday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its ninth annual report on compliance with the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), covering from mid-2014 through mid-2015. As in the past, the report is based on random audits of lobbyists’ filings and analysis of enforcement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. We … ...
March 15, 2016, Inside Political Law
Yesterday, the FCC released an Enforcement Advisory to remind political campaigns about their obligations under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The Advisory did not set forth any new rules for calls and texts; rather, it confirmed existing rules and reminded political campaigns that they are subject to them. The Advisory first confirmed that ...
January 19, 2016, Inside Political Law
A $12 million settlement announced last week by the Securities & Exchange Commission suggests that the SEC will aggressively pursue alleged schemes connecting political contributions to government contracts even if the political contributions do not violate its 2010 pay-to-play rule. According to the settlement order, in 2010, the head of Public Funds at State ...
November 30, 2015, Inside Political Law
In a rare move, the Securities & Exchange Commission has assessed penalties against a political intelligence firm for failing to adopt adequate policies to prevent the flow of inside governmental information to the firm’s clients. The enforcement action is particularly noteworthy because all the factual allegations took place in 2010, before Congress passed the ...
October 8, 2015, Covington Alert
September 8, 2015, Inside Political Law
As Super PACs and campaigns continue to edge closer to the legal line between “independence” and “coordination,” it has become common to hear calls for the FEC to take a stricter role in enforcing the law. Yet as recently reported by BNA, the FEC has not found a single violation of its coordination rules in … Continue Reading
The post California Penalizes ...
July 8, 2015, Inside Political Law
The Wagner case, decided today by the D.C. Circuit, is important because of its analysis of the constitutionality of federal campaign contribution restrictions and, by extension, of pay-to-play laws generally. Covington has been monitoring this case since the district court decision in 2012, to the argument before the D.C. Circuit in 2013, and the decision … ...
January 20, 2015, Inside Political Law
In our discussion of the Securities & Exchange Commission’s (SEC) actions over the past year, we described how the SEC is ramping up enforcement of its pay-to-play restrictions. We also pointed out an acknowledgment by an agency enforcement official that the agency is “actively looking” for violations and that the agency does its own “surveillance.” What kind … ...