Robert Lenhard is a member of the firm’s Election & Political Law practice group and advises corporations, trade associations, not-for-profit organizations, and high-net-worth individuals on compliance with federal and state campaign finance, lobbying, and government ethics laws.
Mr. Lenhard routinely assists clients in establishing and operating federal and state PACs, compliance programs associated with campaign finance and pay-to-play laws; advises advocacy groups and their donors; conducts compliance trainings and audits of federal and state lobbying and political programs; and counsels clients on compliance with congressional gift and travel rules.
Prior to joining the firm in 2008, Mr. Lenhard served as Chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in 2007 and Vice Chairman of the agency in 2006, during which time the agency handled over 10 major rulemakings, had among its most productive years in enforcement and audit, and adopted several reforms to the enforcement process. Mr. Lenhard has also led the Presidential Transition Team that reviewed the FEC for the incoming Obama administration in 2008-2009.
After a surprisingly active 2017, the Federal Election Commission’s enforcement efforts have slowed noticeably in the early months of 2018. In February, former Commission Lee Goodman’s departure from the agency left the Commission with only four members. While the remaining Commissioners can still form a quorum, unanimity is required for all official agency action. Perhaps … Continue Reading
FEC audit reports often address obscure topics, but today one touched on an important issue for banks. At an open meeting, a majority of FEC Commissioners would not support a staff recommendation that a bank violated the campaign finance laws when it made a loan based on collateral that was commercially reasonable under the banking … Continue Reading
There is one very important political law provision to watch as the tax bill moves to a final vote in the Senate, and potentially a conference committee reconciles the House and Senate versions. This amendment will remove the ban on partisan political activities by charitable entities, churches, educational institutions and all other organizations exempt from … Continue Reading
Noting that we are at an “all hands on deck” moment for our democracy, FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub circulated to the Commission yesterday a document citing former Vice President Dick Cheney for the proposition that the United States is now at war with Russia, and that “[e]very part of our government that has jurisdiction over … Continue Reading
Commissioner Ann Ravel’s decision to resign from the Federal Election Commission will have short term and long term effects on an agency empowered to interpret and enforce the federal campaign finance laws and disclose the money raised and spent in federal elections. Its short term effects should be minimal. The statute requires four votes for … Continue Reading
As the President-elect begins to nominate individuals for Senate-confirmed positions in his administration, one of the major hurdles these individuals face is the statutory requirement that the Director of the Office of Government Ethics (“OGE”) review and certify a public disclosure of each source of income exceeding $200 and each property interest exceeding $1,000 in … Continue Reading
Over the next nine weeks, the Trump Presidential Transition team will formulate policy and staffing recommendations for the new administration. This alert gives a broad overview of the Transition and the laws that regulate interactions with Transition team members on issues related to appointments and policy recommendations. Persons interested in this topic may also wish … Continue Reading
The Ferrari carrying former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell appears to have made a U-turn this week on its way to the federal penitentiary. Covington released today a Client Alert on the Supreme Court’s decision in McDonnell v. United States, a decision which vacated Governor McDonnell’s conviction and redraws the lines for corruption prosecutions. The Court held a public … Continue Reading
As Super PACs and campaigns continue to edge closer to the legal line between “independence” and “coordination,” it has become common to hear calls for the FEC to take a stricter role in enforcing the law. Yet as recently reported by BNA, the FEC has not found a single violation of its coordination rules in … Continue Reading
Few subjects in federal campaign finance law are so frequently garbled by commentators, the press and the public as what a Super PAC is and how it operates. Here is a short list of common mistakes. 1. Super PACS are “shadowy” “dark money” groups that mask where their money comes from and how its spent. … Continue Reading