Godfrey & Kahn regularly advises on campaign finance, lobbying and ethics regulation, tax regulation of lobbying and political activities and election law.
Our clients are businesses, trade associations, advocacy and political organizations as well as political consultants and lobbyists. Godfrey & Kahn does not represent candidates or political parties and the firm does not have a lobbying practice. Instead, we provide legal services to the independent organizations and professionals in the lobbying and political industry.
In all of these areas, we provide on-going counsel to our clients as an accessible and ready resource. When necessary, we also work on responding to investigations and other regulatory actions. And, we assist many of our clients on internal compliance matters and training.
We counsel clients on state and federal campaign finance matters including:
- Establishing and operating PACs and superPACs, including assistance on registration and reporting
- “Major purpose” standards and the scope of state and federal regulation
- Use of corporate facilities and funds for political purposes
- In-kind contributions involving polling, research and other benefits to candidates and political parties
- Structuring contribution programs and preparing opinion and transmittal letters for specific contributions
- Drafting anti-coordination and firewall documents while advising on independent and coordinated activities
- Pre-publication review of independent communications
- Working with initiative and referendum groups on formation and operations
We regularly represent clients before the Federal Election Commission as well as state and local regulatory agencies.
Lobbying and Ethics Regulation
We counsel clients on state and federal lobbying and ethics matters including:
- State and federal regulation and reporting requirements for direct lobbying activities
- Counsel on state registration and reporting thresholds for grassroots lobbying communications
- Advising on pay-to-play laws
- Compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act and other issues involving foreign principals
- Counsel on gift restrictions and other ethics issues applicable to lobbyists and lobbying organizations
Tax Regulation of Lobbying and Political Activity
We counsel clients on the regulation of lobbying and political activity under the Internal Revenue Code including:
- Establishing and operating section 501(c)(4) advocacy groups and section 527 political organizations
- Counsel to section 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, section 501(c)(5) labor organizations and section 501(c)(6) trade associations
- Representing tax-exempt clients in responding to IRS complaints as well as audits of their lobbying and political activities
We counsel clients on state election law matters including:
- Structuring GOTV and voter registration programs
- Advising on early voting laws, vote-by-mail and other absentee ballot issues
- Use of polling place observers and other voter integrity programs
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