With the number of rules and regulations governing political activities consistently increasing, clients active in the political arena turn to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s highly skilled regulatory and compliance team to provide guidance specific to their particular needs, whether it is at the federal, state or local level.
As individuals and businesses become more actively involved with the political process and more attuned to its effect on their personal and professional well-being, they must be aware of an increasingly regulated environment where noncompliance presents not only reputational risks, but also the loss of business and burdensome investigations. The explosive growth of regulation affecting campaign contributions, lobbying and the interaction between the public and elected officials requires businesses, nonprofit organizations, trade associations, grassroots groups and individual donors to carefully consider these myriad regulations and structure their political activities accordingly.
Akin Gump’s political law and government ethics practice is acutely aware of the challenges facing our clients. We focus exclusively on representing private-sector clients, including corporations, trade associations, hedge funds, private equity firms, corporate political action committees (PACs) and private individuals. Regardless of the political affiliation or the goals of a particular client, our practice focuses on allowing our clients to successfully engage in the political process, while working within the confines of various, and sometimes competing, regulatory regimes.
Our experience encompasses extensive knowledge of federal, state and local laws and regulations involving political law and government ethics, including:
- Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), as amended by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA)
- congressional and executive branch ethics and gift rules
- federal and state PAC reporting and disclosure
- Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA)
- Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA)
- state and local campaign finance laws and reporting
- state and local lobbyist registration and related reporting, including efforts to influence contracts with governmental entities
- placement agent bans and prohibitions on contingency fees for efforts to influence governmental entity contracts
- pay-to-play rules, including Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 206(4)-5 and Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) Rules G-37 and G-38
- political intelligence activities
- post-government employment restrictions
- conflict of interest provisions
- government inquiries and enforcement actions.
We develop and implement compliance programs, including training sessions, to address the multitude of laws governing political activity that are specific to each client’s industry. In addition to preparing federal, state and local lobbying registration and disclosure reports, we also prepare and file campaign contribution reports; vet contributions regulated under the SEC and MSRB pay-to-play rules; screen gifts and entertainment provided to federal and state officials and their employees; and represent clients before the Federal Election Commission, FARA and Public Integrity divisions of the Department of Justice, Government Accounting Office, Office of Congressional Ethics and numerous state and local agencies. We assist clients in responding to requests for information, investigations, document requests or other actions by the government in audits and enforcement proceedings.
Our clients benefit from a rarely matched combination of deep knowledge of political law and government ethics regulations harnessed with government and congressional investigations, litigation (including white collar criminal defense and securities enforcement), corporate, tax, government contracts and investment funds practices to address a comprehensive range of related issues that can arise in this context.