Melissa L. Laurenza’s practice concentrates on federal and state campaign law, lobbyist registration provisions, gift laws, pay-to-play restrictions, and securities laws regulating political activity.
Practice & Background
Ms. Laurenza represents clients in investigations conducted by various federal executive branch departments, commissions and agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Government Accounting Office, and also represents clients before various state and local commissions and agencies. Ms. Laurenza advises clients on interaction with federal and state officials including lobbying rules, campaign finance regulations, pay-to-play restrictions and other gift and ethics rules including the Federal Election Campaign Act, Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), Rule 206(4)-5 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board Rule G-37. Her practice focuses exclusively on assisting those companies, organizations and individuals who wish to be politically active, whether through campaign contributions, lobbying or other educational efforts and ensuring that their activities are in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations. Ms. Laurenza has worked extensively with federal and state lobby registration laws, in particular developments at the state and local levels requiring lobbyist registration for efforts to obtain investments from state and local pension systems.
Prior to joining Akin Gump, Ms. Laurenza served as counsel and policy advisor to FEC Chairman Michael E. Toner. In that capacity she was responsible for finalizing rules implementing the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, the first major overhaul of the federal campaign finance laws since the 1970s.
Before serving at the FEC, Ms. Laurenza worked for several years for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) first in his office on Capitol Hill and later under his chairmanship at the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Ms. Laurenza has spoken across the country to corporations, trade associations and other groups regarding state and federal ethics, lobbying, gift and campaign finance laws. She has prepared testimony given before the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and other executive branch agencies and has written op-ed pieces.
Ms. Laurenza’s present representations include: commercial and investment banks, trade associations, corporations, insurance companies, hedge funds and private equity firms. Ms. Laurenza also represents individuals transitioning from the government to the private sector and high net worth individuals who are active in the political process.
Awards & Accolades
- “D.C. Rising Star,” The National Law Journal (2015)
- Akin Gump’s 2015 Stark Ritchie Award for Outstanding Commitment to Pro Bono Services
- Recommended by Legal 500 US in Government Relations (2016).
- Up & Coming, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – Government: Political Law (2018)