Election Law and Government Ethics Compliance

Interacting with government officials and participating in the electoral process are activities subject to often-complex federal, state, and local laws. These laws can restrict and may require disclosure of one’s activities. Our expertise encompasses all facets of political campaign finance advice, lobbying compliance, gifts-entertainment-travel requirements, and election law litigation. We promptly respond to particular questions on a daily basis and help clients institute appropriate long-term compliance programs. Over the last forty years, we are honored to have developed a reputation as a favored firm in this specialized area.

Political Campaign Finance Law

Troutman Sanders has decades of real-world experience advising our clients in their political contribution activities.

Our expertise is the representation of corporations, trade associations, and their political action committees ("PACs") at both the federal and state levels. We do this work for some of the largest corporate PACs in America and have provided legal guidance in many states across the country. Our attorneys have particular experience counseling corporate clients in industries which are subject to the most extensive regulations in this area, specifically public utilities, national banks, government contractors, and international companies ("foreign nationals"), including their U.S. subsidiaries. We often provide guidance on the federal limitations governing the use of corporate facilities for political campaign purposes and the federal prohibition against "corporate facilitation" of political contributions.

Working closely with the firm’s specialists in exempt organizations law, our attorneys additionally counsel 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, 501(c)(6) business leagues, such as chambers of commerce, and 527 political organizations to comply with Federal Election Commission ("FEC") and Internal Revenue Service rules. We have advised various referenda and candidate committees and independent expenditure organizations.

We have substantial experience assisting our clients in the formation of both federal and state PACs, their governance (including drafting of articles and bylaws), and their ongoing administration (including the implementation of payroll deduction systems to receive contributions). Our attorneys develop compliance programs, conduct and oversee annual audits of corporate and PAC contributions and expenditures, provide guidance on "pay-to-play" prohibitions, and assist clients in responding to investigations and enforcement matters from federal and state regulators, including election and ethics commissions, the Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Our attorneys have drafted corporate governance policies regarding contributions and political participation, and we assist corporations in addressing and responding to interest groups’ annual meeting proxy proposals related to corporate political donations and their disclosure.

Lobbying and Gifts-Entertainment-Travel Compliance

Troutman Sanders’ attorneys advise numerous large corporations and other business entities nationwide regarding how to comply with the federal, state, local, and international requirements which apply to government relations activities throughout the United States.

Every day we assist clients in the areas of lobbyist registration and reporting; limitations on and prohibitions against gifts, entertainment, travel, and gratuities for public officials and employees; "revolving door" and other post-government employment restrictions; and enforcement matters before federal, state, and local ethics officials.

Our attorneys work with clients to analyze and provide practical advice on their federal and multistate legal issues, assist with the filing of federal, state, and local disclosure reports, conduct and oversee compliance audits, and provide compliance training sessions for their employees and consultants. We have extensive knowledge of the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, and the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as well as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and state lobbying and gift laws across the nation.

Election Law Litigation

Throughout the last forty years, Troutman Sanders’ attorneys have handled scores of election law cases before federal and state trial and appellate courts, including three-judge federal district courts, and we have successfully argued election law appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court. The breadth of our election law litigation expertise extends across redistricting, voting access and procedures, recounts and recalls, and candidacy requirements, and we have participated in a number of landmark cases.

We have successfully defended both state and local governments in numerous congressional, state legislative, and local redistricting challenges. Our election law attorneys possess extensive knowledge of and wide-ranging litigation experience with Sections 2 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, impasse suits, and the constitutional principles governing "one person, one vote" and racial and political gerrymandering. We have handled redistricting cases with upwards of 100 witnesses each. In addition to our experience in litigation, Troutman Sanders’ attorneys have counseled state and local governments in the requirements of decennial redistricting and have served as members of and counsel to statewide independent, bipartisan redistricting commissions.

With regards to voting access and procedures, Troutman Sanders has represented state and local governments, civic organizations, and candidates in litigation brought pursuant to the U.S. Constitution’s First, Fourteenth, and Twenty-Fourth Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and state constitutional, statutory, and regulatory provisions. These cases have involved challenges related to voter registration, absentee voting, in-person voting procedures, military ballots, referenda and other ballot measures, and candidacy requirements. We are proud of our record both obtaining injunctions for candidates and civic organizations and successfully defending against injunctions for our government clients.

Our attorneys have served as election-day counsel to various presidential, statewide, and congressional candidates, and we have participated in recounts and election contests at all levels of government, federal, state, and local. We also have represented elected officials in recall and removal campaigns and proceedings.

Because of our experience and knowledge in these matters, Troutman Sanders is well-equipped to handle any election law or government compliance issue that you face.