When leading corporations are facing heavy scrutiny from Capitol Hill; when high-profile individuals seek guidance in navigating the Senate’s confirmation process; and when legal issues arising from litigation or transactions spill over into the political arena, O’Melveny & Myers offers the critical combination of great lawyering, sage counsel and political insight. That’s the essence of our Public Policy & Political Strategy Practice: to provide a full range of services needed to assist our clients with critical strategic, regulatory, and policy issues in the unique context of the Washington political environment.
We assist individuals, corporations, and industry groups with legislative strategy, regulatory compliance, Congressional investigations, counseling in the political appointment process and government ethics, and more, all drawing upon subject-matter expertise (including corporate transactions, investment funds, trial and appellate litigation, securities regulation, tax, executive compensation, and others) from throughout the firm. Our Public Policy & Political Strategy lawyers have represented individuals from both political parties and in each branch of the Federal government.
Following the example of public service set by our former partner and Chair of the Firm, Warren Christopher, O’Melveny lawyers have held a broad range of government positions in both Republican and Democratic administrations and campaigns. In the current administration and Congress, O’Melveny alumni are now serving as the National Security Advisor, Principal Deputy Solicitor General, an Assistant Secretary of State, the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Justice, Deputy Counsel to Vice President Biden, an Assistant Secretary of Commerce, members of the Office of the White House Counsel, and as a staff member on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, among other roles. O’Melveny lawyers now resident in the Washington Office who have served in the government in the past include:
- K. Lee Blalack II, Chief Counsel and Staff Director, U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (1999-2000)
- Brian Boyle, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General (2003-2005)
- Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr., White House Counsel (1987-1989)
- Walter Dellinger, Acting Solicitor General (1996-1997) and Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel (1993-1996)
- Ted Kassinger, Deputy Secretary (2004-2005) and General Counsel (2001-2004), U.S. Department of Commerce
Our regulatory experience spans a number of agencies, including the Department of Commerce; the Department of Education; the Department of Energy; the Department of the Interior; the Department of State; the Department of Treasury; the Commodities Futures Trading Commission; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC); the Federal Trade Commission (FTC); the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the International Trade Commission (ITC); the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Click here to view a complete list of our lawyers with government experience.
Campaign Finance Laws
. Each level of government sets its own rules regarding political contributions and campaign finance regimes. Although there are some similarities across regimes, laws regulating political contributions vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction with respect to who may give and the potential impact on business activities and the consequences of reaching or exceeding contribution limits. We have substantial experience guiding clients through the thicket of laws governing political activity by corporations, partnerships and individual executives, corporate PAC activity. We advise clients on matters that range from registering federal PACs in local jurisdictions to legal and optical implications of political activity by corporations or their executives.
. O’Melveny has extensive experience in responding to Congressional committee subpoenas, representing members in ethics inquiries and related criminal investigations, preparing clients to testify before Congressional committees, and managing public relations and political consequences. We draw on a team of talented and diverse lawyers with decades of government experience and creative approaches to investigations. Our experience extends well beyond Congress: O’Melveny’s investigations team routinely represents corporations, audit committees, individual officers and directors, and others in internal, SEC, DOJ, state attorney-general, and self-regulatory investigations.
Integrated Legal Strategies
. O’Melveny helps senior executives and their companies navigate the issues that span international legal, regulatory, and policy-making arenas. Because our clients’ responsibilities have evolved in scope and complexity, we aid corporate leadership in crafting, validating, and executing nuanced, effective strategies to achieve their business objectives while satisfying critical legal, regulatory, shareholder, public affairs, and corporate reputation constituencies. Our team, led by Tom McCoy, draws upon the vast experience and diverse skills of its members to provide clients with a distinctive mix of strategic litigation and transactions advice, strategic regulatory-compliance counsel, and sophisticated public policy analysis on the most important issues carrying legal implications that a business can face.
International Trade Regulation
. We counsel both US and non-US clients on the application of US export controls, economic sanctions, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), antiboycott, and customs laws to their international activities, and assist clients in developing and auditing compliance programs relating to these laws. We regularly represent clients concerning regulatory approvals associated with direct foreign investments in the United States, including national security reviews by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). We also represent clients facing civil or criminal enforcement proceedings stemming from regulations applicable to cross-border activities. Similarly, our lawyers collaborate closely with our transactional teams to resolve regulatory issues that arise in the context of cross-border mergers, acquisitions, and financings.
Legislative and Regulatory Counseling.
In recent years, Congress has passed sweeping healthcare and financial services legislation and federal agencies have proposed hundreds of new rules. O’Melveny provides its clients, including corporations, private equity firms, hedge funds, integrated financial institutions, insurance companies, utilities, and renewable energy companies, with guidance necessary to stay abreast of this complex and shifting regulatory landscape. The experiences of our distinguished group of former high-ranking government officials enable us to explain the decision-making procedures followed by federal agencies, Congress, and the courts and offer guidance on key junctures for strategic action and comment by interested concerns.
Recently, the scope and application of lobbying regulation at the federal, state, and municipal levels have undergone significant changes. The definition of what constitutes lobbying has been broadened substantially in recent years, and jurisdictions vary widely in their approach to the definition of lobbying and requirements and restrictions for lobbyists. We have helped numerous clients adapt to the evolving requirements for registration, reporting, and restriction of lobbying activity under the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act and other laws as new aspects of their daily business become subject to lobbying regimes. Our attorneys also have experience advising clients on the requirements of registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
Political Appointee and Ethics Counseling.
O’Melveny has the leading practice in Washington representing presidential executive branch and judicial appointees. For more than 20 years, the firm has represented political appointees in Democratic and Republican administrations, and in the current administration, has represented more than 40 individuals, including members of the Cabinet, ambassadors and others who have been selected for high government office. The firm also advises former government officials on post-employment rules arising from their government service, and we represent companies whose executives may be appointed to executive branch positions, or who otherwise may face special issues in dealing with government ethics regulations. The firm’s appointee practice was established by A.B. Culvahouse, Jr., counsel to President Reagan. Ted Kassinger, former Deputy Secretary and General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Commerce (where he was the Designated Agency Ethics Official), also provides counseling and specialized advice to potential nominees for positions requiring Senate confirmation, other appointees to federal office or advisory committees, former government officials, and companies whose employees may be appointed to a federal position. The firm’s appointee practice is able to call upon resources throughout O’Melveny to address a wide range of legal issues, including tax, securities law, executive compensation, national security, and regulatory compliance counseling, that impact executive branch and judicial nominees.
- Representing a Senator in connection with investigations surrounding his sale of stock from federally qualified blind trusts.
- Representing a Senator in connection with a federal grand jury and Senate Ethics Committee investigation.
- Representing a financial services company in connection with a Senate investigation of its offshore banking business.
- Representing a health care company in connection with Senate and House investigations of its business practices in the small group and individual health insurance markets.
- Representing an investment bank in connection with a Senate investigation of its subprime mortgage business, and a House investigation of its executive compensation practices.
- Representing a health care company in connection with a DOD Inspector General’s investigation of a subsidiary.
- Helping a large integrated financial institution monitor and analyze legislation proposing to permit bankruptcy judges to “cramdown” mortgages in bankruptcy proceedings.
- Assisting a financial services firm in its efforts to understand the impact of mortgage modification programs and to assess the prospects of the “Hope for Homeowners” legislation and the HAMP program.
- For a major insurance company, analyzing the legislative prospects and likely impact of the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act, which potentially would have resolved billions of dollars of pending asbestos-related legal claims.
- Tracking legislative measures such as renewable energy and climate change bills; the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to regulate tobacco; the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program; financial regulatory reform; prescription drug reimportation from Canada; Federal Housing Administration reform; student lending reform; civil justice reform; and private crop insurance.
- Helping a financial services firm monitor and analyze the impact of new Department of Education regulations applicable to for-profit educational institutions.
- Helping a hedge fund client understand the FDA’s efforts to establish and implement a new tobacco regulatory framework.
- Assisting a large utility in monitoring and analyzing Federal Energy Regulatory Commission efforts to develop and adopt market reforms to foster the use of renewable energy sources and Smart Grid interoperability standards.
- For a financial services firm, monitoring and analyzing the likelihood of success of dispositive motions and appeals in the Fen-Phen and Preempro MDL proceedings.
- Providing hedge funds with assessments of the likelihood of appellate review, and likelihood of reversal of lower court decisions, in cases involving large damages awards.
- Counseling Fortune 50 technology firm on public-policy issues concerning the Internet and broadband
- Acting as national coordinating counsel for Fortune 100 corporation in high-profile antitrust/patent controversy
- Creating global strategy for legal and non-legal venues in high-technology antitrust battle.