Political Law

“They are able to tap into all the sources and you know the interpretation and advice they give you is always going to be accurate,” and “very thorough in terms of making sure they understand our business.” — Chambers USA 2016

Skadden provides a wide range of political law advice, with particular emphasis on campaign finance, pay-to-play, ethics, lobbying and conflicts of interest in connection with federal, state and local laws. Our work in these areas includes representation of political committees and businesses involved in the political process, corporate and trade association political action committees, independent political committees and candidate committees, as well as private individuals and entities. Skadden has represented presidential campaigns and prominent federal, state and local candidates of both major parties.

Our political law attorneys have extensive knowledge of the state and federal pay-to-play, ethics and lobbying laws that specifically relate to contracting with a governmental entity. Our attorneys have a broad range of experience advising major banks, investment banking firms, manufacturers, insurance companies and energy companies, among others, on these rules. Such rules include Rules G-37/G-38 and Rule 206(4)-5, which are administered by the SEC/FINRA and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. We also advise on Rule 23.451, which is administered by the CFTC. We advise clients on the SEC’s municipal advisor rule and its registration requirements as well as the MSRB’s rules for municipal advisors. In addition, we have extensive knowledge of state laws that regulate political activity of contractors or require them to register as lobbyists. We regularly advise on compliance with placement agent bans as well as contingency fee bans.

Our attorneys are frequent speakers on the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA), as well as the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (the STOCK Act). We represent clients in matters concerning U.S. and non-U.S. lobby registration that arise under the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act and the Foreign Agents Registration Act. We often prepare federal, state and local campaign finance (i.e., PAC)and lobbying registrations and reports for our clients. We also advise on matters relating to corporate tax issues as they relate to political activities, taxation and trade association political activities.

Our attorneys regularly advise our corporate clients on the extent to which a corporation must disclose its political contributions, lobbying and related activities to its shareholders and the public generally. Certain shareholder groups have pressed for greater transparency of corporate political spending by submitting proxy proposals to certain selected companies that would require such disclosure.

We have implemented comprehensive compliance systems covering the regulation of government affairs for many of our clients. These systems involve monitoring campaign contributions, gifts and gratuities, and lobby activities at the federal, state and local levels.

Our attorneys have published articles on political law in the Stanford Law and Policy Review and the Yale Law and Policy Review. Our attorneys also co-authored the PLI Deskbook on Corporate Political Activities. On an annual basis, our attorneys update a survey of lobby laws for the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws. Also, one of our partners co-chairs the annual Practising Law Institute seminar on Corporate Political Activities. In 2016, for the ninth consecutive year, the practice was ranked in the top tier in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.

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