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Covington’s Election & Political Law group advises individuals who are appointed by the President to political positions in the executive branch on navigating the complicated process of being vetted by the White House, agency ethics offices, and Senate committees. For those who are appointed to high-level federal executive branch positions, the vetting process can be extremely arduous. This is particularly so for high net worth individuals and others who have complicated business dealings or financial holdings.
In addition to advising nominees, we also are regularly retained by corporations and associations to advise them on the ethics implications of having one of their executives join the Administration.
Many nominees are surprised at the amount of time, effort, and technical expertise that is required to manage the vetting process for political appointments. We help our clients understand the process, and we lead them through it in a way that minimizes their public relations and financial risk. We can help devise win-win solutions that satisfy government ethics officials while protecting the interests of the nominees and their families.
Covington’s deep regulatory expertise in a wide range of areas informs our vetting and confirmations practice. For example, the vetting process often requires specialized tax and executive benefits expertise, two areas in which Covington is internationally known. Lawyers in our Election & Political Law Practice Group regularly deal with agency ethics officials in a wide range of contexts, and we draw on that experience when serving as a liaison between nominees and those ethics offices.
We also prepare clients for the confirmation process. In doing so, we draw on the expertise of lawyers and professionals in our Public Policy and Government Affairs group. Our lawyers have prepared numerous witnesses for congressional testimony, and we provide extensive preparation for those who are appearing before the Senate in confirmation proceedings. Various Covington lawyers have played important roles in vetting and confirmation process, both within and outside of government. These include a former vetting counsel for the White House Counsel’s office, a former ethics counsel for the Department of Health and Human Services, and numerous former government officials who have personally been vetted and confirmed for administrative positions.
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.
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 ...