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Corporate Political Activities 2015: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and Ethics Laws

Author(s): Chip Nielsen, Jan Witold Baran, Kenneth A. Gross
Practice Area: Corporate & Securities
Published: Sep 2015
PLI Item #: 58826
CHB Spine #: B2193

Chip Nielsen is the senior political law partner in campaign finance, pay-to-play, initiative, lobbying, conflict of interest and non-profit laws and a member of the firm's Management Committee. He also plays a very important role as one of the firm's top government law strategists.

He has been on the Faculty for 38 years and a Co-Chair for 35 years of this PLI seminar.

His Chambers USA ranking is top tier in political law nationwide

Professional Experience

Mr. Nielsen has been actively involved in California state politics and government for over four and one half decades, having been a campaign manager and a political law advisor to numerous politicians and government leaders as well as having served in senior government positions himself, such as Chief Administrative Officer for the California Assembly, Assistant Deputy State Controller and Chief of Staff to the Lieutenant Governor.

Publications and Boards

He is widely published in the area of political law and has been or is a member of the Board of Directors of the California Journal, the Bay Area Council, the North Bay Leadership Council, the American Bar Association Committee on Election Law, the University of California at Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies National Advisory Board, the American Association of Political Consultants, and the Citizens Research Foundation.  He was on the President’s Panel on Federal Judges, Central District of California, in the 2000s.


University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law

Coro Fellow, Los Angeles

Yale University, cum laude

Jan Baran is the founder and co-chair of Wiley Rein LLP’s Election Law and Government Ethics Practice. 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 similar state agencies. He has appeared in numerous cases at the Supreme Court of the United States and has presented oral arguments before the Court.

Chambers USA consistently recognizes Jan among the nation’s top tier of distinguished practitioners in the field. He is described by his peers as “the dean of political law” (2016). Jan is the author of The Election Law Primer for Corporations now in its Sixth Edition published by the American Bar Association. He has written numerous legal articles and opinion pieces published in law journals and other publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today. Jan is also co-chair of the annual Practising Law Institute program, Corporate Political Activities.

Jan has served as an Executive Assistant to the Chair of the FEC, as 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 Counsel to the Virginia Attorney General for an election recount, and as a member of the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Government Finance Reform. He also has been a member of international observer delegations to national elections in 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.