Political Law

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From the lobbyist attempting to influence public policy, to the candidate seeking re-election, to the business planning a charitable event for a politician, to the individual making a campaign contribution and beyond, those involved in politics – even on the smallest scale – must comply with a variety of laws and regulations. Whether you are involved in politics on a local, state, or federal level, Dickinson Wright’s bipartisan political law team provides strategic counsel to help you overcome challenges and maximize opportunities involving finance, ethics, and government regulations.

Awards and Recognitions

Our political law team members are ranked by Chambers®, Super Lawyers®, Best Lawyers® and other leading evaluating organizations. They have served as elected officials, assisted with high-profile election campaigns, and are frequently recognized in top political publications, including Politico, Washingtonian Magazine, and The Hill, for their sophisticated approach to solving ethics and election law challenges.

Our Services

We offer a full spectrum of services to corporations and business organizations, trade associations, tax-exempt organizations, political candidates, campaigns, public officials, political parties, committees, and other contributors. We frequently counsel clients regarding compliance to federal, state, and local laws, ensuring they remain aware of any new and proposed legislation. We also assist clients with internal and external investigations, provide representation during an enforcement action or audit, draft and implement internal policies and employment contracts, and litigate disputes when necessary.

Our team advises clients on all aspects of political law, including:

  • Federal and State Campaign Finance Law
  • Lobbying Disclosure
  • Foreign Agent Registration Act
  • Federal and State Government Ethics
  • Redistricting Strategy and Litigation
  • State and Federal Laws
  • State Ballot Initiatives
  • Nonprofit Organization Formation and Compliance
  • Federal and State “Pay-to-Play” Rules

Campaign Finance Law: Federal law limits who can contribute to a campaign, how much they can contribute, and how that contribution is spent. Rules vary based on contributor status – business or individual – and can be difficult to navigate. We assist our clients with handling campaign contributions, establishing and maintaining political action committees (PACs), preparing and reviewing state and Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings, as well as implementing risk avoidance strategies to avoid violating the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and other related state and local laws.

Lobbying Disclosure: The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA) has specific guidelines for lobbyists and their employers that, if left unheeded, can result in hefty fines as well as jail time. In 2007, the amended version of the LDA, The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA), increased penalties for violations. Those regularly interacting with the government on local, state, and federal levels are frequently required to register lobbyists and must report lobbying expenses to the IRS. Our lawyers counsel clients on the application of these laws, making the complex simple so they are able to focus on their lobbying efforts.

Government Ethics: Whether using campaign contributions to fund a trip, seeking advice from a former political rival, or accepting an invitation to speak at an informal dinner, a plethora of laws and regulations control how government employees interact with corporations and individuals alike. Our team counsels clients regarding outside activity restrictions, conflict of interest laws, gift and travel rules, and fundraising regulations. 

Representative Case Matters 

–Counseled political leaders and officials in their election and re-election campaigns. 

–Provided counsel to political parties and campaigns regarding federal and state election law compliance as well as policy issues involved in campaign finance reform. 

–Counseled a variety of corporations and individuals regarding congressional ethics, multi-state lobbying, and gift rule compliance. 

–Prepared gift, travel, and financial disclosure forms. 

–Litigated multiple political cases, including several concerning the First Amendment. 

–Conducted internal investigations and represented clients during enforcement actions and audits. 

–Assisted with election recounts. 

–Advised corporations on specific pay-to-play laws and other rules governing state and local contributions. 

–Guided tax-exempt and non-profit organizations through formation and establishment. 

–Served as counsel to multiple political leaders seeking election, advising them regarding the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). 

–Served as General Counsel and Chief Financial Officer for a national political organization, developing legal and budgeting strategies for the association’s participation in governors’ races in thirty-eight states. 

–Developed and managed a major Presidential campaign budget and systems for legal compliance with Federal Election Commission, IRS and various state regulations, as well as record-keeping and accounting.
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