Practices  |  Election Law & Government Ethics

Political Law Compliance Counseling

Overview

Federal & State Campaign Finance

As recognized in Chambers USA, Wiley Rein has “formidable experience in campaign finance and ethics laws,” and the firm’s attorneys regularly advise clients on both federal and state campaign finance requirements and developments. 

Federal Campaign Finance Compliance Counseling. At the federal level, we help corporations and trade associations understand the complex laws governing political action committees (PACs), workplace political activity, independent expenditures, electioneering communications, and others forms of independent political advocacy. We also counsel numerous federal candidates, political parties, super PACs, politically active 501(c) organizations, and individual donors on federal campaign finance and related tax compliance issues. Our attorneys and reporting specialists review many of our clients’ campaign finance disclosure reports before they are filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). In addition, we routinely represent clients before the FEC in enforcement actions, audits, and other matters. 

State & Local Campaign Finance Compliance Counseling. Clients rely on our attorneys' extensive knowledge of state and local campaign finance laws to assist them in navigating these ever-changing rules. We regularly advise corporations and trade associations on state and local contribution limits and prohibitions, disclosure and reporting requirements, the ability of federal PACs to make state and local contributions, and the compliance issues associated with establishing state and local PACs. Each of the 50 states (and the District of Columbia) has its unique set of campaign finance laws that we catalogue in broad-ranging surveys and in a database containing more targeted insights. We offer guidance around the nation on complying with these challenging requirements. 

Federal & State Lobbying

Wiley Rein regularly advises clients on compliance with federal, state, and local lobbying laws. As recognized in Chambers USA, our Election Law & Government Ethics Practice “[o]ffers expertise across a range of areas, including state and federal lobbying regulations.”

Federal Lobbying Compliance Counseling. We routinely advise corporations, trade associations, nonprofit organizations, and lobbying firms regarding compliance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (HLOGA). We regularly lead compliance training sessions for our clients. Our attorneys and reporting specialists also assist clients with preparing and filing federal lobbying reports. In addition to assisting clients in complying with the LDA’s registration, reporting, and recordkeeping obligations, we represent clients during U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) audits. Notably, our practice features Robert L. Walker, a former Chief Counsel and Staff Director of both the Senate and House ethics committees who is an expert in congressional ethics and lobbying rules, and reporting specialists with particular experience regarding the LD-1, LD-2, and LD-203 lobbying reporting forms required by the LDA and HLOGA. 

State & Local Lobbying Compliance Counseling. Lobbying regimes at the state and local levels present similar challenges, and our attorneys offer unparalleled knowledge and insight in these areas. We regularly advise corporations, trade associations, nonprofit organizations, and lobbying firms on whether particular activities are regulated as “lobbying” or “grassroots lobbying,” as well as whether lobbying registration or reporting is required. As a full-service shop, our attorneys and reporting specialists also assist clients with preparing and filing state and local lobbying reports in jurisdictions across the country. In addition, our annual Lobbying & Gift Law Guide provides a comprehensive overview of the lobbying, gift, and ethics laws in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Wiley Rein also represents clients before state and local agencies and boards as needed. 

Federal & State Ethics

Wiley Rein advises clients on compliance with a host of federal, state, and local ethics laws.

Our Practice offers a variety of services to help corporations, trade associations, lobbyists and lobbying firms, government officials, candidates, and private individuals navigate the complex array of federal ethics laws, including the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (HLOGA) and congressional and executive branch ethics rules. Notably, our Practice includes Robert L. Walker, former Chief Counsel and Staff Director of both the Senate and House ethics committees, who has extensive experience in this area. We provide guidance on congressional and other government gift rules, personal financial-disclosure reporting requirements, conflict of interest and post-employment restrictions, and other issues implicated by federal ethics laws. We also represent Members of Congress, congressional employees, and executive branch political appointees in seeking advice from the congressional ethics committees and Office of Government Ethics. In addition, we also represent clients in sensitive investigations by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, the House Committee on Ethics, and the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Wiley Rein also advises clients on state and local level ethics issues. Every state, the District of Columbia, and many municipalities have their own, often overlapping, ethics laws governing interactions with government officials. Our guidance covers all aspects of state and local ethics from gift, travel, and honoraria rules to conflicts of interest and post-employment restrictions, as well as other rules unique to each state or municipality. Our annual Lobbying & Gift Law Guide provides a comprehensive overview of the lobbying, gift, and ethics laws in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Wiley Rein's expertise in this area is national in scale, and we are available to provide prompt advice on these issues in any state or local jurisdiction.

Federal & State Pay-to-Play

“Pay-to-play” laws regulate political contributions made by persons seeking or holding government contracts. In many cases, these laws also cover contributions made by individuals and entities who are affiliated with government contractor firms. The number of jurisdictions and public entities that have adopted “pay-to-play” laws or policies is ever growing. Wiley Rein advises clients regarding compliance with these complex pay-to-play laws at the federal, state, local, and agency level. 

At the federal level, we routinely counsel companies in the financial services industry, trade associations, and their PACs regarding Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) Rules G-37 and G-38, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rules 206(4)-5 and 15Fh-6, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rules 2030 and 4580, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Rule 23.451. 

We also assist corporations in complying with the pay-to-play laws that have proliferated at the state and local levels. These laws, which impact all types of government contractors, often reach beyond corporate and PAC contributions and apply to contributions by directors, officers, sales employees, and even their spouses. Many companies that may not think of themselves as government contractors, but that do business of even a relatively modest amount with public entities, may be subject to pay-to-play laws without realizing it.

We have helped numerous clients develop and implement pay-to-play compliance programs, which often involve political contribution pre-clearance processes. Our semiannual State and Municipal Pay-to-Play Survey provides a comprehensive overview of the pay-to-play laws in states and major municipalities, and even the pay-to-play policies that many public entities have adopted. 

News & Insights

News & Insights