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Basics of the Federal Election Campaign Act 2019


Speaker(s): Jan Witold Baran, Jason D. Kaune, Kenneth A. Gross
Recorded on: Aug. 1, 2019
PLI Program #: 276790

Jason Kaune leads Nielsen Merksamer’s political law section and has served as faculty for the Corporate Political Activities conference since 2003. He specializes in government ethics, election, lobbying disclosure, conflict of interest, gift and gratuity, and campaign finance laws of federal, state and local governments.

Mr. Kaune advises corporations, advocacy groups, individuals, non-profit organizations and governments on the increasingly complex regulation of the political intersection of the public and private sectors in the United States. For nearly twenty years, he has pioneered the firm’s national compliance practice, building client-oriented resources and systems with his political law colleagues that have served as benchmarks in the regulated community. His clients include the nation’s largest technology, pharmaceutical, energy, telecommunications, media, publishing, investment and consumer product companies.

He is one of the leading political attorneys in California, advising individuals, entities and government agencies on election law and conflict of interest matters. He serves as counsel and treasurer for political action committees, advocacy groups, social welfare organizations, independent expenditure committees and ballot measures on topics ranging from land use restrictions to government reform.

Mr. Kaune represents and advises clients in regard to their dealings with state and local government ethics agencies across the country, with local counsel as necessary. His expertise includes “pay to play” restrictions on government contractors and the financial industry, the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), California’s Political Reform Act (PRA), and similar laws at every level of government.

He’s currently an appointed member of the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Election Law.  He is a past president of the California Political Attorneys Association and member of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) and other professional associations. He also serves as an elected trustee of the Orinda Unified School District, a public school district in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining Nielsen Merksamer, Mr. Kaune worked in the private and non-profit sectors, on a presidential campaign, and for a U.S. Federal District Court Judge.  He is an honors graduate of Yale College and the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law and earned a master in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


Jan Baran is a partner at Wiley Rein LLP and the founder and chair emeritus of the firm’s Election Law and Government Ethics Practice Group. For over forty years, Jan has specialized in the laws that regulate political activity and lobbying including the Federal Election Campaign Act, the Lobbying Disclosure Act, the Ethics in Government Act, as well as related federal, state and local laws. He represents clients before federal and state courts, the Federal Election Commission (FEC), congressional ethics committees and comparable state agencies. He has appeared in numerous First Amendment cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Jan is the author of The Election Law Primer for Corporations now in its Sixth Edition published by the American Bar Association. Chambers USA consistently recognizes Jan among the nation’s top tier of distinguished practitioners in the field and refers to him as “the dean of political law.”

Jan has been an Executive Assistant to the Chair of the FEC, a member of The President’s Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform, U.S Ambassador to the World Administrative Radio Conference, General Counsel of the Republican National Committee, Special Recount Counsel to the Virginia Attorney General, and a member of the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Government Finance Reform. He also has been a member of international election observer delegations to foreign countries including The Philippines, Nicaragua, Hungary, and Pakistan.

Jan received his Juris Doctor degree from Vanderbilt University Law School, where he was a Patrick Wilson Scholar, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio Wesleyan University, where he currently serves as a Trustee on the Board of Trustees.


Kenneth A. Gross advises clients on matters relating to the regulation of political activity. A nationally renowned authority on campaign law compliance, gift and gratuity rules, lobby registration provisions, and securities laws regulating political activity and municipal securities transactions, Mr. Gross counsels numerous Fortune 500 corporations and political candidates at the state and federal level. As former associate general counsel of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Mr. Gross headed the general counsel’s Enforcement Division and supervised the legal staff charged with the review of the FEC’s Audit Division.

Presently, his clients include commercial and investment banks, insurance companies, energy companies, pharmaceuticals, accounting firms, real estate firms, media companies and trade associations. He advises elected officials as well as candidates facing various federal and state races. Mr. Gross also counsels senior-level political appointees facing Senate confirmation in matters related to compliance with government ethics laws.

Mr. Gross is well-known for his experience regarding the Ethics in Government Act, the Lobbying Disclosure Act, the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, and the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate ethics rules. He also has worked extensively with federal and state lobby registration laws, in particular compliance with the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act and the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Additionally, he advises corporations on internal ethics guidelines and conducts internal investigations. Mr. Gross advises many corporations on their responses to shareholder proposals regarding disclosure of political and lobbying expenditures.

Beginning with the underwriting scandals on political contributions in the late 1980s and 1990s that led to MSRB Rules G-37/G-38 regulating the activities of broker-dealers, Mr. Gross has been at the forefront in advising clients on compliance with pay-to-play rules. Such rules have broadened over the years to restrict activity by investment advisers (SEC Rule 206(4)-5) and swap dealers (CFTC Rule 23.451).

Mr. Gross repeatedly has been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and The Best Lawyers in America. Washingtonian Magazine repeatedly has recognized him as a top lawyer in the field of ethics and election law. In addition, he was recognized as a leading Washington, D.C. attorney by Washington Post Magazine and was named Best Lawyers’ 2017 Washington, D.C. Government Relations Practice Lawyer of the Year. Roll Call named Mr. Gross among the outstanding lawyers when it last identified “Who’s Who Among the Congressional Ethics Bar.” He has been listed in multiple editions of Who’s Who in America. Mr. Gross received a 2013 ILO Client Choice Award, awarded by the International Law Office in recognition of individual partners who excel across the full spectrum of client service. In addition, in 2006, Mr. Gross was the recipient of the Council on Governmental Ethics Law (COGEL) Award, the highest award given by COGEL in recognition of service to the ethics community.

Mr. Gross is widely known as a speaker on ethics in government and election law. A frequent featured guest on CNN, Fox News, NPR Radio and other media outlets, Mr. Gross was CNN’s on-air election law analyst during the 2000 Florida election dispute and made daily appearances in covering the election. He advised NBC’s television show “The West Wing” on election law issues that arose in the show’s scripts.

In addition, he is the co-author of the Ethics Handbook for Enter­taining and Lobbying Public Officials. His published articles on campaign finance have appeared in the Stanford Law and Policy Review and the Yale Law & Policy Review (“The Enforcement of Campaign Finance Rules: A System in Search of Reform”); Federal Bar Journal; Corporate Political Activities (published by Business Laws, Inc.); Money, Elections and Democracy; and several other publications. He also is the author of supplements to a treatise titled “Federal Regulation of Campaign Finance and Political Activity.” He served as a commentator for the “Under the Influence” Experts Forum published by The National Journal. Mr. Gross has co-authored summaries of the STOCK Act for the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation.

Mr. Gross co-chairs the Practising Law Institute’s annual seminar on “Corporate Political Activities.” He is an adviser to the American Law Institute’s Members Consultative Group on the Principles of Government Ethics. He chaired the Election Law Committee for the Federal Bar Association. Mr. Gross also served as an appointee of former Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan (D-NY) on the New York Judicial Screening Committee, where he participated in the recommendation of New York federal judges and U.S. attorneys.

An active participant in various nonprofit organizations, Mr. Gross is a member of the executive committee and counsel to the Ameri­can Council of Young Political Leaders. Mr. Gross is a co-founder of No Labels, a nonprofit focused on developing bipartisan approaches toward solving our nation’s problems. He also is a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Lawyers Committee and a board member of the Public Affairs Council.

Mr. Gross has served on the faculty of George Washington Univer­sity and also at New York University. He often lectures at George­town University Law Center, Fordham University School of Law and American University.