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Corporate Political Activities 2020: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and Ethics Laws

Speaker(s): Brandon L. Van Grack, Caleb P. Burns, Carol A. Laham, Christina J. Hymer, Dana K. McCallum, David H. Laufman, Debbie Chacona, Deborah S. Mayer, Elli Abdoli, Guy W. Giorno, Jan Witold Baran, Jason D. Kaune, Joanne Lendway McMahon, John C. Sassaman, Kenneth A. Gross, Ki P. Hong, Lisa J. Stevenson, Michael J. Sullivan, Molly A. Meegan, Rebecca H. Gordon, Richard C. Pilger, Terri J. Lee, Wesley D. Bizzell
Recorded on: Sep. 10, 2020
PLI Program #: 302156

Richard C. Pilger serves as Director of the Election Crimes Branch (and was previously a Senior Trial Attorney) in the Public Integrity Section of Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice. Mr. Pilger has over twenty-five years of legal experience following his graduation magna cum laude from Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington, and his undergraduate work at the University of Notre Dame. He began his career as a law clerk to the Honorable James T. Moody, a United States District Court Judge sitting both in the Northern District of Indiana and by designation on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. From his clerkship, where he handled an active and complex federal criminal docket, Mr. Pilger entered the Justice Department through the Attorney General’s Honors Program, and immediately joined the Public Integrity Section, where he currently consults on federal criminal election cases nationwide. 

Prior to assuming his duties for election crimes, Mr. Pilger directly handled investigations, prosecutions, and appeals across the complete spectrum of public corruption matters at all levels and in all branches of government. Some his notable cases include United States v. Spargo, N.D.N.Y. (judicial extortion); United States v. Siegelman & Scrushy, et al., (M.D. Al.) (former Governor and former CEO of HealthSouth convicted of bribery and obstruction of justice); United States v. Plowman, (S.D. Ind.) (Indianapolis city council and police extortion); United States v. Zachares, (D.D.C.) (former senior congressional staffer convicted of honest services fraud involving Jack Abramoff); United States v. West, et al., (E.D. Va.) (fraud and bank theft ring operated by CIA employees); United States v. Carroll, et al., (N.D. Ill.) (first modern conviction of U.S. Foreign Service Officer for overseas bribery conspiracy); Operation Lost Trust, (D.S.C.) (legislative bribery in South Carolina); and Operation BOPTROT, (E.D. Ky.) (legislative bribery in Kentucky); United States v. Newsome, et al., (E.D. Ky.) (vote-buying conspiracy). Mr. Pilger has received numerous awards for his corruption prosecutions, including the Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award, and the Assistant Attorney General's Award for Outstanding Trial Advocacy.

Mr. Pilger has also served in temporary assignments for the Department, including stints as the Legal Advisor at the United States Embassy in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, where he headed anti-corruption assistance to the Georgian government, and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting numerous jury trials of street crime in the District of Columbia.

Brandon L. Van Grack is the Chief of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit at the Department of Justice, where he oversees the enforcement and administration of FARA. Mr. Van Grack also supervises investigations and prosecutions across the Department of Justice involving malign foreign influence. He previously served as a Senior Assistant Special Counsel on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and related matters. Prior to that, Mr. Van Grack served as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, where he advised Department of Justice leadership on national security matters, including economic sanctions, export controls, foreign investment, and cyber threats. He also worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, where he prosecuted the Department of Justice’s first-ever cyberterrorism case. Mr. Van Grack began his career at the Department of Justice as a Trial Attorney in the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, directing investigations and prosecutions involving economic sanctions, export controls, espionage, money laundering, and cyber attacks.

Before joining the Department of Justice, Mr. Van Grack was an associate at Baker Botts LLP, specializing in white collar criminal defense and complex corporate litigation, and clerked for the Honorable Thomas F. Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Duke University.




Caleb P. Burns focuses on advising participants in the political process on compliance with all aspects of political law, including campaign finance, government ethics, and lobbying. His clients include federal officeholders, political candidates and committees, non-profit and tax exempt 501(c) advocacy organizations, trade associations, Fortune 50 corporations, other business organizations, and private individuals. He has particular experience with the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA), as well as analogous state and local laws regulating campaign finance, government ethics, and lobbying. Caleb frequently represents clients subject to these laws in matters before the Federal Election Commission (FEC), other federal and state administrative agencies, and in federal and state courts.

Rated among the nation’s leading lawyers by Chambers USA, he is recognized as “a real expert in the political law arena” (2013). He is described as “a meticulous and thorough practitioner who has an excellent reputation in the market” (2015) and “always very prompt” (2014). Clients value his “very practical advice” (2014). Caleb has appeared as a nationally broadcast commentator on Fox News and National Public Radio, and is regularly cited and quoted on political law topics in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fox News, Time, Politico, The Huffington Post, Salon, Roll Call, The Hill, Law360, The Washington Times, Washington Business Journal, and Washington Examiner.

Practice Areas

  • Election Law & Government Ethics
  • Foreign Agents Registration Act
  • Litigation


  • J.D., New York University School of Law
  • B.A., cum laude, Duke University

Bar and Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia Bar
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Christina Hymer serves as Senior Counsel, Law Function in Corporate Compliance, a position she has held since June 2018. In this role, Christina provides advice and counsel on compliance with U.S. political laws related to political contributions, lobbying and gifts to public officials.

Prior to joining Chevron, Christina served in positions as Deputy Assistant General Counsel for Standards of Conduct and Attorney-Advisor at the United States Department of Energy. In addition, she was on special assignment as Ethics Counsel in the Office of the White House Counsel. Prior to Christina’s federal government service, she completed two judicial clerkships with the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division I, and Arizona Superior Court, Maricopa County.

Christina graduated from American University, with a Bachelor of Science in International Studies, and where she was a four-year starter in goal for the lacrosse team. Christina also graduated from American University, Washington College of Law with a Juris Doctorate.

David H. Laufman is a Partner in the Washington, DC, office of Wiggin & Dana LLP, where he serves as Co-Chair of the firm’s National Security Practice Group, a member of its White Collar Defense, Investigations and Corporate Compliance Practice Group, and a member of its International Trade Compliance Practice Group.

Mr. Laufman conducts internal corporate investigations and represents parties in federal criminal investigations and other government enforcement actions, as well as in congressional investigations, Inspector General investigations, and sensitive national security matters. From December 2014 to February 2018, he served as Chief of the Counterintelligence & Export Control Section at the Department of Justice, where he oversaw enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and investigations and prosecutions involving the theft of trade secrets benefiting a foreign government, instrumentality, or agent (economic espionage); violations of U.S. export control and economic sanctions laws; espionage; cyber intrusions and attacks by nation states and their proxies; the unauthorized retention and disclosure of classified information; and atomic energy and counterproliferation. In addition to these responsibilities, he oversaw the investigation of Hillary Clinton concerning allegations that classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on a personal email server during her tenure as Secretary of State. Prior to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III, Mr. Laufman also oversaw the investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Mr. Laufman previously served both as a federal prosecutor and at DOJ's highest operational and policy levels. As Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General from 2001 to 2003, he assisted in the day-to-day management of DOJ and helped to coordinate DOJ's responses to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. From 2003 to 2007, Mr. Laufman served as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he prosecuted terrorism, export control, and other national security offenses. From 2010 to 2011, he served as a Special Trial Attorney to the Fraud Section at DOJ, where, on detail from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction ("SIGIR"), he investigated and prosecuted procurement fraud and corruption related to U.S. economic assistance to Iraq.

Mr. Laufman has received several awards for his work as a federal prosecutor. In 2006, he received the John Marshall Award for Outstanding Legal Achievement, DOJ's highest award for excellence in litigation, for his trial work as lead prosecutor in the terrorism case United States v. Abu Ali. In 2007, Mr. Laufman received the FBI Director's Award for Outstanding Counterterrorism Investigation for his work in United States v. Khan ("the Virginia Jihad case"). In 2011, he received the Award for Excellence in Investigation from the Council of the Inspector Generals for Integrity and Efficiency for his work in the case of United States v. Ayesh, which resulted in new judicial precedent regarding the extraterritorial application of federal conflict-of-interest laws.

Mr. Laufman has devoted much of his career to national security affairs. In the 1980s, he served as a military and political analyst in the Directorate of Intelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency. From 1990 to 1993, he was Deputy Minority Counsel to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he participated in oversight investigations of the executive branch. From 2000 to 2001, he served as Staff

Director and Deputy Chief Counsel to the Judicial Review Commission on Foreign Asset Control, a congressionally mandated body that examined the administration of U.S. laws governing the imposition of economic sanctions by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. While serving as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General from 2001 to 2003, Mr. Laufman also served as DOJ’s representative to the National Security Council’s Policy Coordinating Committee on Terrorist Financing, a sensitive inter-agency body that formulated intelligence and law enforcement policy and tactics regarding the designation of individuals and organizations suspected of financing al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

In addition to his work in national security affairs, Mr. Laufman has extensive experience in government ethics and public corruption investigations. From 1992 to 1993, he served as Senior Associate Minority Counsel to the Task Force to Investigate Certain Allegations Concerning the Holding of American Hostages by Iran in 1980 ("October Surprise Task Force"), a special bipartisan panel of the U.S. House of Representatives. Subsequently, he served as Associate Independent Counsel in the Investigation Concerning the Search of William J. Clinton's Passport Files During the 1992 Presidential Election Campaign. From 1996 to 2000, Mr. Laufman served as Investigative Counsel to the Ethics Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he conducted ethics investigations of Members of Congress and coordinated the sanctions hearing of then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Following the Gingrich case, he played a central role in crafting and negotiating changes to the ethics rules of the House of Representatives in his capacity as Assistant to the Special Counsel to the Ethics Reform Task Force. Mr. Laufman also conducted professional misconduct investigations for the Office of Professional Responsibility at DOJ before becoming Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General.

Mr. Laufman has made numerous appearances on network and cable television news, including MSNBC, CNN, and the PBS NewsHour, as well as offering commentary on NPR. He has also been quoted extensively as an expert on national security and criminal justice matters in leading publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Laufman was born in Houston, Texas, where he attended St. John's School. He received his bachelor's degree in 1979 from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating magna cum laude with distinction in international relations. He received his law degree in 1987 from Georgetown University Law Center.


Debbie Chacona has served the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for 29 years. She joined the FEC in 1992 as a Campaign Finance Analyst in the Reports Analysis Division (RAD) where she reviewed disclosure filings and assisted filers with compliance. From 2000-2010, she served as the Branch Chief for the Party/PAC Branch in RAD, overseeing a team of analysts who review campaign finance reports filed by PACs and political party committees.  She began serving in her current position as the Director of the Reports Analysis Division in 2010, where she leads a team of 70 staff members who are responsible for making campaign finance reports and data publicly available, reviewing campaign finance reports and filings, and for assisting filers with compliance.

Since the early years of her career at the FEC, Debbie has been an active participant in the agency’s educational outreach program, serving as a presenter for party committee and best practices workshops in FEC sponsored conferences and seminars.  In addition, over the years Debbie has accepted invitations from various groups and organizations to speak or present reporting/compliance workshops.

Debbie earned a B.S. in Paralegal Studies from the University of Maryland and a B.A. in Political Science and Communication Studies from the State University of New York, College at Oswego.

Elli Abdoli is a partner with the firm’s political law section. She advises Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, trade associations and other organizations on complying with federal, state and local lobby, campaign finance and ethics laws, including developing and implementing comprehensive nationwide compliance systems.

Ms. Abdoli specializes in “pay-to-play” laws, including SEC Rule 206(4)-5, MSRB Rule G-37, and state and local laws impacting the political activity of current and prospective government contractors. She has developed compliance processes and policies to assist companies in complying with these complex laws and regulations, including a mobile application to assist executives and employees with their reporting obligations.

Ms. Abdoli also advises corporations, nonprofit organizations, committees, and individuals on federal, state and local campaign finance and election law issues, including the initiative and referendum process. She is counsel and treasurer for a number of political action committees and ballot measure committees.

In 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, Ms. Abdoli was selected for inclusion in Northern California Super Lawyers – Rising Stars, which recognizes no more than the top 2.5 percent of lawyers. The Rising Star category recognizes attorneys who are age 40 or less, or in the practice of law 10 years or less.

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.

Michael J. Sullivan is currently serving his fifth term as Director of the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF).  Appointed unanimously by a bi-partisan commission to his first term in 1994, he is the only Director to be reappointed in the over 40 year history of the office.  Prior to his appointment at OCPF, Mike served as the City Clerk in Newburyport, MA.

He served two stints (2008, 2016) as President of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) and served on its Steering Committee for seven years.  COGEL is the national organization of government administrators in the campaign finance, ethics, public information and lobbying arenas.

An alumnus of Tufts University, Mike is also a member of the Association of New England Football Officials and the North Shore Baseball Umpires Association.  A native of Lynn, MA, he resides in Newburyport, MA.

Molly Meegan is the Deputy General Counsel for the Human Rights Campaign and Human Rights Campaign Foundation. She advises both organizations on a broad range of corporate legal issues, and is assistant corporate secretary to their respective boards. Molly was the recipient of the Human Rights Campaign’s National Ally of Justice Award in 2017.

Molly has more than twenty years of experience counseling non-profit entities and private corporations on a wide variety of topics.  She has particular expertise in campaign finance and non-profit tax issues, complex litigation, the drafting and negotiation of complex contracts, compliance, enterprise risk management, cyber and physical security, and board governance.

In addition to her day job, Molly has made it a priority to give back to the community through service on the boards of several non-profit institutions, as well as other fundraising and community-based activities.

Molly obtained her JD from the Georgetown Law Center and BS from Cornell University.  She is a member of the District of Columbia and New York bars, as well as the Association of Corporate Counsel and Practicing Law Institute.

Rebecca H. Gordon counsels corporations, trade associations, lobbying firms and other entities on the entire spectrum of legal issues that impact their ability to interact with and impact federal and state governments. These include federal Lobbying Disclosure Act registration and reporting requirements, federal campaign finance law, federal and state laws governing the provision of meals, entertainment, and other things of value to public officials, state and local lobbying law, and federal and state pay-to-play laws.

Rebecca works closely with clients’ legal and government relations teams, counseling them on all aspects of their interactions with candidates and government officials.  Rebecca helps her clients construct and implement compliance programs to fit each one’s unique structure and culture. She counsels on campaign finance and congressional ethics matters and helps organizations interested in creating and operating their own PACs.  Rebecca knows how to prioritize issues for those active in the political process, drawing upon years of experience as counsel to countless political campaigns, federal officeholders and party committees.

Rebecca's clients include FORTUNE 100 corporations, nationwide trade associations and prominent lobbying firms.  She has particular depth advising clients in the technology, health care, media and entertainment and oil and gas sectors.  Rebecca has found that her clients maximize the value of their work when they clearly understand the strategies and recommendations for effective, lawful political participation.  Her counsel focuses on accessible advice that extends beyond merely reciting the law and provides practical guidance that allows clients to more easily make informed decisions.

Rebecca is the co-editor of fifth edition of The Lobbying Manual, an ABA publication that offers a complete guide to federal lobbying law and practice.


The George Washington University Law School, J.D., with honors, 2001, Managing Editor, International Law Review, 2000-2001

The College of William & Mary, B.A., Economics, Government, 1997

Wesley Bizzell serves as Senior Assistant General Counsel and Managing Director of Political Law & Ethics Programs for Altria Client Services.    Overseeing a comprehensive compliance system covering the regulation of government affairs, Mr. Bizzell provides advice and guidance on political law compliance for more than 75 jurisdictions.  Mr. Bizzell also heads the legal team that supports Altria’s public policy activities, providing services related to legislative and regulatory drafting and interpretation. 

Mr. Bizzell is an authority on political law compliance, serving as co-chair of the Conference Board’s Committee on Corporate Political Spending, a committee of leading American corporations dedicated to education and engagement on issues of corporate political activity.  For four years, he served as co-chair of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws’ (“COGEL”) annual conference.  In 2018, COGEL awarded Mr. Bizzell its highest honor, the COGEL Award, for making a “demonstrable and positive contribution to the fields of campaign finance, ethics, elections, lobbying and freedom of information over a significant period of time.”

Previously, Mr. Bizzell was an attorney in Winston & Strawn LLP’s Federal Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs Practice Group.  His career also includes more than six years on Capitol Hill, where he served as an aide to Arkansas Senators David Pryor and Dale Bumpers. 

Mr. Bizzell is extremely active in promoting diversity and inclusion within the legal and corporate communities.  He is a founding member and serves on the steering committee for Altria’s LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group and is the immediate past president of the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association, after serving a two-year term.  He has been named by London’s Financial Times (2017 and 2018) and Yahoo Finance (2019 and 2020) as one of the 100 worldwide OUTstanding Leading LGBT+ Corporate Executives, and Chambers and Partners also named him the 2019 LGBT+ Equality Lawyer of the Year for his dedication and commitment to LGBT diversity programs and his efforts to advance LGBT+ professionals in the law.  In 2021, he was appointed to serve as a commissioner for the American Bar Association’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Commission. 

Mr. Bizzell graduated with a B.A. in Justice, magna cum laude, from the American University in Washington, D.C. and received a Master of Social Work with a focus in public policy from the Catholic University of America.  He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as an editor for the Georgetown Law Journal. 

Based in Ottawa and Toronto, Guy Giorno leads the Fasken law firm’s Political Law practice. He advises clients on lobbyist registration, government accountability and ethics, public-sector conflict of interest, and government procurement.

Former Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Canada, Guy remains an active, influential force in shaping lobbyist registration laws in Canada. Widely recognized as Canada’s leading expert in lobbying law, Guy regularly represents corporate executives and lobbyists in enforcement proceedings, and guides companies and organizations to adopt strategies and policies to ensure political law compliance. He has testified on lobbying law and government ethics before parliamentary and legislative committees, has been consulted by several provinces on the design of their lobbyist registries, and previously served as Lobbyist Registrar for Brampton, Canada’s ninth largest city.

An active, non-partisan advocate for government transparency, lobbying ethics and electoral reform, Guy has been appointed as the integrity commissioner (responsible for administering government ethics rules) by more than 30 municipalities in Ontario, Canada.

Guy is the co-author of the legal text Lobbying in Canada, is active in (and a former steering committee member of) the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws, and recently completed seven years as the first chair of the “Law of Lobbying and Ethics” committee of the Canadian Bar Association.

Dana K. McCallum is the Superintendent of Public Records, United States Senate, appointed to that position by the Secretary of the Senate in February 2010.

Ms. McCallum previously served as the Assistant Superintendent from 2007 to 2010.  She has over 25 years of service on Capitol Hill, serving in administrative and communications posts.  She originally hails from Kentucky, where she graduated from Murray State University.

The Office of Public Records (OPR) receives, processes, and maintains for public inspection records, reports, and other documents filed with the Secretary of the Senate involving the Ethics in Government Act, the Lobbying Disclosure Act, the Mutual Security Act, and the Senate Code of Official Conduct.  The office reviews the filings of and provides guidance to registrants under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

Under Ms. McCallum's leadership, OPR upholds a strong commitment to effectively manage public disclosure and provide outstanding customer service.  In implementing Lobbying Disclosure Act requirements, OPR adopts measures to improve filer compliance and initiates successful quality control measures.  OPR also maintains public and online access to financial disclosure documents of Members and staff, as well as other disclosure documents including reimbursed travel reports required by the Senate Gift Rule, registration of mass mailings, political fund designations, and supervisors’ reports on individuals performing Senate services.  

Jan Baran is a Partner at Holtzman Vogel. Baran has decades of experience as one of the nation’s preeminent election law attorneys. He advises clients on all aspects of election and political law including federal, state and local campaign finance laws, government ethics requirements, and lobbying laws.

Mr. Baran began his career as counsel and Assistant to the Chair of the Federal Election Commission, He went on to serve as General Counsel of the George H.W. Bush campaign for president and General Counsel of the Republican National Committee. Later, he served as a member of The President’s Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform, Special Recount Counsel to the Virginia Attorney General, and member of the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Government Finance Reform. He has been a member of international observer delegations to numerous elections around the world, including in the Philippines, Nicaragua, Hungary and Pakistan.

Baran is an experienced litigator who has argued numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals.

He appears frequently as a legal commentator on television, radio, cable and in the print press. His articles have been published in law journals as well as in the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today. Baran served as a legal analyst for ABC News during the 2000 Florida recount.

Mr. Baran is the author of the book, “The Election Law Primer for Corporations,” published by the American Bar Association, and now in its sixth edition. He co-chairs the Practising Law Institute’s annual Corporate Political Activities conference. Baran has received the top national ranking from Chambers USA every year since the original publication. Chambers has described Baran as “the dean of campaign finance.”

Baran 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.

John Sassaman is Chief Counsel, Ethics and Compliance, Government Operations, for The Boeing Company. Sassaman is responsible for enterprise legal support on a range of federal and state regulatory and policy issues, including those involving Boeing’s ethics program, campaign finance and lobbying laws, hiring of former government officials, engagements with federal and state officials, business courtesies and hospitalities, and conflict of interest.

Before joining the Law Department, Sassaman was director of Ethics and Business Conduct for Government Operations and Boeing International for Boeing. He was responsible for leading a global team ensuring effective deployment of ethics controls and initiatives to promote a compliant and ethical work culture that enabled strong business performance. He reported to the vice president of Ethics and served on the Government Operations and Boeing International leadership teams.

Sassaman joined Boeing in November 2014 after more than 13 years on Capitol Hill, where he was chief counsel and staff director for the United State Senate’s Select Committee on Ethics, which is authorized to administer the Senate’s self-discipline authority under Article 1, section 5 of the United States Constitution. In that role, he implemented and managed the committee’s investigation practices, policies and procedures as well as its training tools on a nonpartisan basis. Before joining the Senate Ethics Committee, Sassaman served as senior counsel for the United States House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, functioning as the committee’s leader on ethics advice and training. He also served as Special Counsel in the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.

Sassaman holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Haverford College, a Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from Albany Law School of Union University, and is recognized as a certified compliance and ethics professional by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics.  

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.

Ki P. Hong is the head of Skadden’s Political Law Group. He advises major corporations on the unique political law issues they face when engaging in government affairs or government procurement activity. These include federal and state campaign finance, lobbying, gift, ethics and conflict-of-interest laws.

Mr. Hong also advises clients on pay-to-play laws that impose special restrictions on the political activity of companies that have or seek government contracts, as well as their covered employees. He advises clients on establishing and maintaining comprehensive systems to ensure compliance with those laws. In addition, he represents clients at the enforcement stage.

Mr. Hong’s clients include companies from a wide range of different industries. He represents three of the "Big Four" accounting firms and leaders in other industries, such as technology, energy, media, insurance and communications. He also represents nine of the top 10 U.S. banks and nearly all of Wall Street.

Mr. Hong is well-regarded for his experience with state and federal pay-to-play laws. Such laws include MSRB Rules G-37/G-38, including amendments to Rule G-37 that apply to municipal advisors. He also advises clients on implementing Dodd-Frank’s definition and regulation of municipal advisors. He has extensive experience in SEC Rule 206(4)-5 for investment advisors and drafted model policies and procedures to address this Rule that have become the industry standard. Mr. Hong also advises clients on the pay-to-play provisions within CFTC Rule 23.451 covering swap dealers.

He also has extensive experience advising clients on election, lobbying and government ethics laws. Mr. Hong routinely represents clients before federal enforcement agencies such as the Federal Election Commission, and he works with the House and Senate Ethics Committees, the Office of Congressional Ethics and the Office of Government Ethics. He also works frequently with various state ethics commissions around the country. He advises clients on state laws that require government contractors and investment advisers to register as lobbyists.

Mr. Hong regularly counsels major corporations on inquiries and proxy proposals issued by shareholder groups regarding transparency in corporate political spending and lobbying activities.

Mr. Hong served on the steering committee of the Council on Government Ethics Laws (COGEL), an association of the federal and state government agencies that implement and enforce campaign finance and ethics laws throughout the United States and Canada. Mr. Hong is the first attorney in private practice to be elected to the steering committee in COGEL’s history.

Mr. Hong co-authored the Ethics Handbook for Entertaining and Lobbying Public Officials, which was first published in 1994 and continues to be updated for subscribers. He co-authored several chapters of the Practicing Law Institute’s publication “Corporate Political Activities” for every edition of the publication since 1993. He also co-authors the Institute’s “Corporate Political Activities Deskbook.”

He is a regular speaker at conferences, such as those organized by the Practising Law Institute, the Investment Adviser Association and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. He also is a main speaker at an all-day seminar that he organizes every year, having completed the 24th annual seminar with more than 220 attendees in May 2019. Mr. Hong is ranked in Band 1 for political law in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and has been named in The Best Lawyers in America. Washingtonian Magazine also has repeatedly recognized him as a top lawyer in the field of ethics and election law.

Ms. Mayer serves as the non-partisan chief legal advisor and professional staff leader, selected jointly by both sides of the only bipartisan committee in the Senate.  Ms. Mayer personally advises Members of the Committee and Senate, and oversees the non-partisan staff in providing ethics advice and education, administering the Senate’s financial disclosure program, and conducting investigations and enforcement of ethics rules, laws and standards of conduct.  Prior to her work in the Senate, from July 2011 through January 2015, Ms. Mayer served as the Director of Investigations for the House Ethics Committee, overseeing all of the Committee’s investigations into Members of Congress or their staff.

From November 2002 to July 2011, Ms. Mayer was a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, beginning as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, where she spent most of her time in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section investigating and prosecuting members and associates of La Cosa Nostra.  Her cases included prosecuting the boss of the Colombo Crime Family for murder in aid of racketeering and conducting one of the only trials on the country involving the smuggling of antiquities looted from the Iraq Museum.  In 2008, Ms. Mayer joined the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, where she investigated and prosecuted corruption at all levels of government throughout the United States.

Since 1998, Ms. Mayer has served as a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Navy, both on active duty and in the reserve.  Ms. Mayer has served in a variety of litigation and operational assignments including as a trial and appellate prosecutor and Staff Judge Advocate.  She holds the rank of Captain, and currently serves as a military judge.

In addition to her work as an attorney, Ms. Mayer has trained prosecutors at the Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center, taught seminars to law enforcement agents at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Clinical Law at Brooklyn Law School.

Terri Lee is Vice President of State Government Affairs and Policy – U.S. Market for Merck & Co., Inc. based in North Wales, PA.  Terri and her team represent Merck with state elected and appointed officials, governmental entities, and policy organizations across the U.S., and are responsible for U.S. policy development and legislative advocacy on key state issues impacting the company. Since joining Merck, she has also held positions in Field Sales and Recruiting & Development, and multiple positions in State Government Affairs & Policy.

With more than 20 years of legislative policy experience, Terri has led numerous policy initiatives that support the discovery and development of innovative medicines and vaccines, while improving and protecting patient access to products and care.  She represents Merck with several state policy focused national and local industry groups, including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), where she is former Chair for the State Section, and the Board of Life Sciences Pennsylvania where she is Chair-Elect.  She was honored as one of Merck’s Most Amazing Women and received the One Merck Global Diversity and Inclusion Award for her work with external partners. She is a recipient of the NOBEL Women Inaugural Women of Distinction Award and received NBCSL’s Corporate Achievement Award for Partnership & Social Responsibility having served four years as Chair of their Corporate Roundtable. She was also recognized by the Healthcare Business Women’s Association for her work to protect public interest and promote public health policy.

Terri has been a lifelong volunteer and supporter of causes that improve the lives of under-resourced families. She has a passion to advance education, improve healthcare, enhance political action, and empower youth to lead. One of her recent endeavors was as an author and performer in “Soliloquy; The Health Monologues”, a stage production that empowers women to be advocates for their own health. Terri and her husband reside in Collegeville, PA.

Carol Laham, a partner in Wiley’s nationally-recognized Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, advises corporations, trade associations, political groups and committees, candidates, PACs, media corporations, and individuals on federal and state campaign finance and election laws, government ethics, and lobbying laws. She is also an experienced litigator who regularly handles complex issues of political, constitutional, and administrative law.

Named in Chambers USA as one of the nation’s leading practitioners in her field, Carol is praised by clients as “very responsive, forward-looking and creative” (2019).  Chambers USA calls her “highly experienced” (2015) and “well-respected” (2011), and recognizes her “knowledge of the area” (2015). Additionally, she has repeatedly been named one of DC’s “Super Lawyers” for Political Law and Legislative & Government Affairs by Super Lawyers magazine and one of DC’s top Election Law lawyers by Washingtonian magazine, and was named one of Lawdragon’s “3,000 Leading Lawyers in America.” Carol has been a guest commentator on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, CBC, and National Public Radio.

Relevant Representative Experience:

  • Engages in extensive corporate and trade association training on campaign finance, ethics, and lobbying laws.
  • Counsels corporations with respect to federal and state pay-to-play statutes, regulations, and ordinances and with respect to procurement lobbying laws.
  • Counsels clients on compliance with specific laws such as State and local lobbying and ethics laws, the Ethics in Government Act, House and Senate Ethics, the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, and the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Prior to joining the firm, Carol practiced in the Office of the General Counsel of the Federal Election Commission. She is a graduate of Wellesley College (Phi Beta Kappa) and of New York University School of Law.

Joanne Lendway McMahon is General Electric’s Governmental Compliance Leader.  Her work focuses on compliance with US federal, state and local laws regarding campaign finance, gifts, lobbying, and government procurement.  Joanne works closely with GE’s compliance, government relations, litigation and legal teams at GE Corporate and with all GE business entities.   She also works with GE’s IT group to develop technology solutions that address governmental compliance risks.  Joanne is a member of GE’s COVID-19 Task Force, assisting with the company’s response to rapidly changing executive orders and laws impacting business operations.

Joanne has been a lawyer since 1989, starting her legal career in private practice in Chicago representing national insurers and international reinsurers in complex coverage disputes over asbestos, pollution and lead paint claims.  Joanne joined GE in 2002, working for GE Reinsurance on latent injury claims and public policy initiatives.   In 2009, Joanne became GE’s Governmental Compliance Leader.

Joanne has authored numerous articles and is a frequent speaker on compliance issues.  She received her undergraduate degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and her law degree from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, Illinois.  Joanne resides in the Chicago area.

Ms. Stevenson is Acting General Counsel at the Federal Election Commission, a position to which she was appointed in September 2016.  Ms. Stevenson joined the Commission in May 2012, serving as Special Counsel to the General Counsel.  In October 2012, she was named Deputy General Counsel for Law, where she advised the General Counsel and assisted in overseeing all of the organizational units of the Office of General Counsel, including Policy, Litigation and Enforcement.  Prior to her arrival at the Commission, Ms. Stevenson was a Partner at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP where she focused on white collar criminal defense and compliance advice.  Before joining Zuckerman Spaeder, she was an Associate with Covington & Burling from 1997 to 2005, and she served as Law Clerk to Honorable James Robertson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia from 1996 to 1997.  Ms. Stevenson is a 1992 magna cum laude graduate of Amherst College and she received her law degree from the University of Michigan in 1996.