Mike Wittenwyler is an administrative and regulatory attorney at Godfrey & Kahn, S.C., and the lead attorney in the firm’s Political Law Group. Splitting his time between Madison, Wisconsin and Washington D.C., he advises businesses, trade associations, and other organizations on their interactions with government - local, state, and federal.
Mike works with clients each day on campaign finance, election law, ethics and lobbying regulation, and the tax regulation of political and lobbying activities. He performs legislative planning, analysis, and drafting for business and industry groups. His work on administrative and regulatory matters includes responding to agency investigations and enforcement actions as well as the review of and challenge to agency actions. He often participates in litigation on these matters on behalf of coalitions of individuals, businesses, and trade associations. Many of Mike’s clients are tax-exempt organizations and he specializes in the tax regulation of lobbying and political activities as well as other tax-exempt legal matters.
Through his work, Mike has a comprehensive understanding of the regulation of alcoholic beverages under Wisconsin law. He is a member of the National Association of Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Attorneys and served on the 2018-2019 Wisconsin Legislative Study Committee on Alcohol Beverages Enforcement. He works with businesses in all three-tiers of the alcohol beverage industry – suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers. He serves as counsel to both the Wisconsin Wine and Spirit Institute and the Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association.
Many of the matters Mike works on are controversial, high-profile, and involve the courtroom of public opinion. He is skilled at explaining legal issues in compelling but accessible language and frequently interacts with the media.
Mike regularly speaks at events organized by businesses and trade associations and taught for over 10-years as an adjunct professor, “Political Law: Campaign Finance, Ethics & Elections” at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Mike is currently an adjunct faculty member at the University of San Francisco where he teaches a course on Political Law.
He is a member of the Council on Governmental Ethics Law, American Association of Political Consultants as well as the American Bar Association’s Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section. In surveys of other attorneys, Mike has been repeatedly mentioned by several publications as a “best attorney,” “top lawyer” and “rising star,” including recognition by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.
Mike has direct experience with political campaigns and media relations and, prior to law school, worked as a congressional aide in Washington, D.C. Before joining the firm, he served as campaign manager and spokesperson for U.S. Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) successful 1998 re-election.
In 1995, Mike graduated with distinction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in political science and earned his law degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1998.