Campaign Finance Overview for the 2016 Elections

(96 Ratings)

Produced on: August 25, 2016

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 61 minutes
Difficulty Advanced

The 2016 elections are just around the corner. Many companies, associations, nonprofit organizations and individuals will be involved. Yet, there are significant pitfalls that can lead to expensive investigations, high fines and penalties, and, often worst of all, serious damage to an organization’s reputation. This course, presented by Ronald Jacobs and Margaret Rohlfing, of Venable’s Political Law Group, explains how to be involved and compliant.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify state and federal contributions limits
  2. Understand the campaign finance restrictions that apply to organizations and how they support candidates
  3. Discuss political action committees and how they allow companies to be involved in the political process
  4. Grasp political disclosure law as they apply to political activities at the state and federal levels
  5. Recognize how individuals and organizations can host events to support candidates
  6. Address the issue of efforts by shareholders and outside interest groups to restrict or require disclosure of political activities by companies


Ronald Jacobs

Venable LLP

Ronald Jacobs, a partner in Venable’s Washington D.C. office serves as chair of Venable’s Political Law Group. He advises clients on all aspects of state and federal political law, including campaign finance, lobbying disclosure, gift and ethics rules, pay-to-play laws, and tax implications of political activities. Mr. Jacobs assists clients with crises response to government investigations and enforcement actions, Congressional investigations, class-action law suits, and other high-profile problems that involve potentially damaging legal and public-relations matters. Along with Lawrence Norton, he co-edits the firm’s Political Law Briefing blog.

Mr. Jacobs understands the often-contradictory rules imposed by the different laws that apply to political activities. He offers practical advice that considers not only the legal requirements, but also the reputational risk, of political activity to a broad range of clients, including large and small companies, trade associations, charities, campaigns, Super PACs, ideological groups, individuals, and political vendors. He has developed political compliance programs for Fortune 500 companies and other clients that lobby and make political contributions nationwide.

In addition to counseling clients on political law matters, Mr. Jacobs has extensive experience in the administrative rulemaking process and in litigating challenges to agency decisions in federal court. He has represented clients in administrative matters before the Federal Election Commission, the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Federal Trade Commission, the United States Congress, and in federal court.



Some of Mr. Jacobs’s significant matters have included:

  • Obtaining an advisory opinion from the Federal Election Commission to allow an association to launch a novel new online fundraising platform to support candidates.
  • Serving as general counsel to a successful 2014 candidate for the United States Senate.
  • Representing a Super PAC that supported a candidate in the 2012 presidential primary, creating one of the first Super PACs active in a Los Angeles mayor's race and one of the first Super PACs active in a local Maryland election, as well as representing Super PACs active in Congressional elections.
  • Creating a 501(c)(4) that engaged in issue advocacy and candidate activities connection with the 2012 presidential general election.
  • Obtaining approval from Senate Ethics Committee for major nationally-televised charitable event held during the Holiday Season in Washington.
  • Developing pay-to-play compliance policy and procedures for a large hedge fund that actively solicits state contributions and for a hospitality company that serves state and local governments.
  • Successfully defending a large, nationally-known trade association during a Congressional investigation into allegations of fraudulent grassroots lobbying activity.
  • Assisting a large social welfare organization with multiple Congressional investigations and several class action lawsuits.
  • Serving as outside pro bono counsel to Warrior Canine Connection, a charity that assists soldiers suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder to train service dogs for physically wounded soldiers.

Margaret Rohlfing

American Civil Liberties Union

Margaret C. Rohlfing is an Associate in the Regulatory Practice Group where she advises clients on political law compliance as well as a wide range of other legal issues relevant to tax-exempt organizations. Ms. Rohlfing works with trade associations, public charities, advocacy groups, private foundations, and other nonprofits on state and federal tax law matters, corporate governance and management, grant administration, contract review and negotiation, and formation and operation of nonprofit and for-profit subsidiaries and affiliates. In addition, she counsels nonprofits, corporations and other business entities, and other advocacy organizations on a variety of complex issues of federal, state, and local campaign finance, lobbying, and government ethics laws. Ms. Rohlfing has assisted in representing clients in Federal Election Commission enforcement proceedings and in investigations and enforcement matters before state campaign finance and lobbying regulators. Her practice includes aiding clients in complying with campaign finance and lobbying reporting requirements and implementing effective compliance systems to manage reporting. 

Ms. Rohlfing has also represented clients in agency rulemakings and other regulatory proceedings, including matters before the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Election Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health and Human Services. 

While earning her law degree, Ms. Rohlfing completed an internship at the Federal Election Commission and served as a judicial intern in the chambers of the Honorable Edward J. Damich of the United States Court of Federal Claims.


Gilbert G.

These attorneys are obviously real experts

Michael V.

Clear; presenters had a good rapport.

Theodore L.

Two voices, very well paced and ordered - remarkable content clearly presented.

Kenneth H.

Nice overview of a complex area of the law.

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$ 59 Election, Campaign, & Political Law In Stock


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