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U.S. Supreme Court Holds Title VII Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

In an important civil rights development, the U.S. Supreme Court today issued a 6-3 opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, holding that gay and transgender employees are protected under the prohibition against workplace sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”).  Justice Gorsuch delivered the majority opinion, joined … Continue Reading

Whose Knowledge Counts? The Expanding Scope of Government Knowledge in FCA Cases

This week marks the four-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark False Claims Act decision in Universal Health Services, Inc. v. Escobar, 136 S. Ct. 1989 (2016).  In Escobar, the Supreme Court confirmed that the question of government knowledge lies at the heart of FCA liability determinations, but it did not specifically address who counts … Continue Reading

Washington Becomes Latest State to Pass Law Prohibiting Foreign Involvement in Campaign Finance Activity

Effective today, June 11, 2020, a new law in Washington state prohibits involvement of “foreign nationals” in state campaign finance activity.  The law also requires corporations and other entities to certify their compliance with the new law whenever they make a contribution in the state.  This new law reinforces Washington’s reputation as one of the … Continue Reading

A Rookie’s Guide to Federal Lobbying Compliance: Four Key Risks for Companies Contacting Government Officials on COVID-19 Matters

As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic spreads through every industry, companies that previously steered clear of Washington, D.C. may find themselves contacting the federal government for assistance. From communicating with Members of Congress about potential provisions of the CARES Act to requesting new forms of assistance from federal agencies that oversee their industries, these … Continue Reading

Campaign Finance Violation for Unregistered Political Committee Upheld in Washington State, but $18 Million Penalty Must Still Pass Excessive Fine Test

In one of the most watched campaign finance disclosure enforcement cases, last week, the Washington State Supreme Court upheld a trial court’s finding that a trade association intentionally failed to register and report contributions and expenditures in opposition to a ballot initiative that would have required labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food.  In … Continue Reading

Past as Prologue: The Wave of Investigations to Follow the Pandemic Recovery and Actions that Companies Can Take Now to Prepare

On March 30, 2020, the inspectors general of several major agencies selected the Department of Defense Inspector General, Glenn Fine, to lead a newly created federal oversight entity that will investigate waste, fraud, and abuse in connection with the massive new coronavirus economic relief legislation. The inspectors general were exercising new authority contained in the … Continue Reading

USPTO Uses CARES Act Authority to Extend Deadlines for Patent and Trademark Owners and Applicants

The recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act contains a little-known provision to protect inventors during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Section 12004 of the CARES Act grants the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) director the temporary authority to “toll, waive, adjust, or modify, any timing deadline” established by federal patent or … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Relief and Nonprofits: What You Need to Know

In a wave of legislation designed to combat the global economic impacts of COVID-19, Congress has enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). At a high level and among many other things, the Acts provide: $349 billion in loan funds for small businesses and … Continue Reading

Have No Fear: Fourth Circuit Confirms Contractors Shouldn’t Fear Privilege Waivers When Making Mandatory Disclosures

The Fourth Circuit recently rejected a trial court’s ruling that a contractor’s mandatory disclosure submission waived its attorney-client privilege over the underlying internal investigation. In re Fluor Intercontinental, Inc., No. 20-1241 (Mar. 25, 2020) (per curiam). The court granted Fluor’s mandamus petition and directed the district court to vacate its orders requiring Fluor to produce … Continue Reading

German Government decides on tightening the National FDI Screening Regime

The German government has proposed a new draft bill reforming the current foreign direct investment (“FDI”) regime, which is likely to have a significant impact on all M&A transactions involving acquisitions of 10% or more of the voting rights in German companies active in “critical infrastructures” and “critical technologies” by any non-EU investors. Under the … Continue Reading

Agencies Encourage Banks to Make Small-Dollar Loans to Customers Affected by Coronavirus

Yesterday, March 26, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released an interagency statement encouraging financial institutions to offer responsible small-dollar loans to both consumers and small businesses facing … Continue Reading

COVID 19 – US and EU Competition Law Implications (25 March 2020)

The Covington US and EU Competition/Antitrust teams will be updating you regularly, through the Covington Competition blog, on the competition/antitrust law implications – both procedural and substantive – of the COVID-19 crisis in the US and the EU.  This is our update for Wednesday 25 March. New updates as compared to the previous update are … Continue Reading

COVID 19 – US and EU Competition Law Implications (24 March 2020)

The Covington US and EU Competition/Antitrust teams will be updating you regularly, through the Covington Competition blog, on the competition/antitrust law implications – both procedural and substantive – of the COVID-19 crisis in the US and the EU.  This is our update for Tuesday 24 March. United States 1. Mergers / Filings Electronic HSR Filings … Continue Reading

Federal Reserve Takes Extraordinary Actions Supporting Financial Markets to Mitigate COVID-19 Impact

Yesterday, on Sunday, March 15, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on U.S. and global economic activity, the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (“FOMC”) cut the target range of the federal funds rate to 0 to 1/4 percent until such time as the FOMC is “confident that the economy has weathered recent … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Renews Focus on Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts

The Trump Administration has declared this month National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, calling on industry associations, law enforcement, private businesses, and others to work toward ending modern slavery and human trafficking. This proclamation follows the Administration’s efforts to combat human trafficking, which we have previously discussed here, and comes on the heels of … Continue Reading

New Online Political Advertising Rules Coming to California January 1

Amid ongoing focus on how social media and other companies approach online advertising, California’s latest effort to require disclosure of online advertising will take effect January 1.  We blogged on these revisions to the California DISCLOSE Act, sometimes called the Social Media DISCLOSE Act, when they passed back in 2018.  Absent federal action, we expect … Continue Reading

The Week Ahead in the European Parliament –  November 8, 2019

Summary Next week will be a mini-plenary week in the European Parliament.  Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) gather in Brussels for Committee meetings and Plenary Sessions. On Wednesday, MEPs will discuss the state of play and rising tensions between Eastern Mediterranean Member States and Turkey due to Turkey’s drilling operations off Cyprus that intensified … Continue Reading

The Death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: One Week Later

One week ago, American special operations forces killed the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in northwestern Syria. The next morning, President Trump described the operation in vivid detail and the story was later amplified with accounts from the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Advisor. While the Islamic State was a … Continue Reading

A New Normal for Foreign Military Sales? Total Sales for FY 2019 Nearly Matches FY 2018

On October 15, 2019, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that foreign arm sales for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 totaled $55.4 billion. This amount nearly matches the total from FY 2018 of $55.7 billion, continuing the significant increase in foreign arm sales under the Trump Administration and potentially signaling that the enormous 33 percent … Continue Reading

New Changes to Foreign Agents Registration Act Forms and E-File System

Following the Department of Justice’s announcement in March of an initiative to increase enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”), the Department has rolled out a new e-file system for FARA registrations.  Notably, the new system only applies to new registrants, although the Department indicated that it will transition existing registrants to the new … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

On October 18, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The question presented before the Court is “whether the substantial executive authority yielded by the CFPB, an independent agency led by a single director, violates the separation of powers.”  In addition, the Court requested that the parties brief … Continue Reading

Five Key Considerations For Handling Internal Corporate Investigations

Companies today face increasingly complex regulatory frameworks globally and intense levels of corporate scrutiny from government enforcement agencies around the world. As government agencies embrace sophisticated crime-busting technology and the world shrinks through greater inter-agency cooperation, there are more ways than ever for governments to identify misconduct and hold companies to account through criminal prosecutions … Continue Reading
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