Ballard Spahr has formed a dedicated Political and Election Law Group to help individuals, organizations, and government officials navigate the increasingly complex regulatory environment governing political activity.

The team of more than 15 lawyers will advise clients on issues such as campaign finance, redistricting, access, lobbying and electoral strategy, PAC formation, and regulatory compliance. Litigators in the group have decades of experience representing clients during investigations and defending them in enforcement actions. 

“It is a fundamental tenet of civics that everyone has the right to participate in governing our nation—whether that means voting, contributing to a political campaign, taking part in lobbying efforts, or running for public office,” said Joseph A. Kanefield, the Ballard Spahr partner who leads the group and who previously served as General Counsel to former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. “The current enforcement environment, though, has turned that landscape into a potential minefield.”

Like Mr. Kanefield, several in the group have held prominent positions in administrations on both sides of the aisle or played leading roles as campaign strategists in federal and state elections before they became attorneys in private practice. Team members with that background include Edward G. Rendell, the former Pennsylvania Governor and General Chair of the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 campaign; Kenneth M. Jarin, Vice Chair for National Finance for the Democratic National Committee and the former Treasurer of the Democratic Governors’ Association; and Jon M. Laria, who chaired the Finance Committee for former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and served on the Transition Steering Committee.

The group counsels clients in compliance matters, including:

  • FEC campaign finance
  • Federal, state, and local “pay-to-play” laws
  • Corporate political disclosure
  • Drafting and implementation of institutional compliance programs
  • Compliance audits, including state-by-state analysis
  • Political committee formation, governance, support, and operations
  • Lobbying, legislative, and electoral strategy
  • Political advertising and social media campaigns
  • Redistricting
  • Political tax and tax-exempt organizations
  • Guidance on the Lobbying Disclosure Act, gift rules, and federal election laws
  • Voting rights and election administration

Attorneys in the group have handled a significant number of redistricting and election law cases and have represented government, corporate, and political clients in civil and criminal campaign finance matters. They work closely with lawyers in the firm’s White Collar Defense/Internal Investigations Group, which has defended donors, prominent public and elected officials, Fortune 500 corporations and their senior officers and directors. Their experience includes:

  • FEC and DOJ enforcement
  • Corporate internal investigations
  • State and local enforcement
  • Election-related litigation
  • Government investigations

The Political and Election Law Group also works in conjunction with the firm’s Government Relations, Regulatory Affairs and Contracting practice. The practice offers a range of services to clients in state capitals across the nation. It monitors government developments and gives direct assistance in legislative efforts ensuring that clients' voices are heard by policymakers and regulators. In economic development and government contracting matters, it helps clients identify and pursue opportunities that fit their business needs.

“Ballard Spahr looks at government relations a little differently than the typical law firm. We believe that the most effective way for business to interact with government is to be proactive,” said Mr. Jarin, a leader of the firm’s government relations practice. “A comprehensive, forward-looking solid strategy is critical when making the most of opportunities that stem from government policy, legislation, and regulation. That is particularly true at the level of state government, where the business terrain varies from one capital to the next. We have national strength in this field and realized that this was an ideal time to expand our capabilities in this important area.”