Political and election law is a constantly evolving and complex field where politics and law intersect. Whether you are interested in running for office, participating in or influencing the electoral process, or interacting with government officials, you need to be aware of the federal, state, and even local laws that may govern your activity. At Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig, we have highly experienced counsel who can assist you with navigating these laws, providing world-class legal advice to candidates and campaigns at a cost-effective rate designed for any campaign budget.
Campaign and Candidates
If you are a candidate for office, having legal counsel on your side in an election can mean the difference between winning and losing. Elections are governed extensively by state, federal, and even local laws. A candidate who desires to run for office must first gain access to the ballot. Ballot access laws can vary widely from state to state, and failure to carefully pay attention to the laws in this regard can result in a candidate’s easy disqualification.
Moreover, political parties play a critical role in the nomination of their candidates. Depending on the state, the method of nomination may vary. The type of nomination used by a party to select its nominee can potentially influence who is selected out of a crowded field of candidates. Therefore, a savvy candidate should consult counsel during this stage to ensure he or she understands the nomination process.
Every candidate should be prepared to file or defend against a potential election day lawsuit. A host of various issues, including long lines and voting equipment problems on election day, can affect the outcome of an election. Eleventh-hour lawsuits on election day may arise out of such issues. A campaign without legal counsel to monitor election day activities and to handle such lawsuits is a campaign that is unprepared.
In today’s closely-divided electorate, a post-election recount is always a possibility in a hotly contested race. Far too often, candidates fail to prepare in advance for the possibility of such a recount, assuming that a recount will never happen to them. But recounts do occur. To be on the winning side of an election, a candidate should always take careful steps long before election day to prepare for the possibility of a recount.
At Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig, we have experienced attorneys who can assist candidates and campaigns at every stage of an election. Indeed, we have extensive experience working with candidates. We have even trained teams of lawyers for election day operations and have been intricately involved with recounts.
Corporations, Trade Associations, Political Action Committees, and Non-Profit Organizations
If your business or organization seeks to influence the political process, then you need to know the laws in this regard. Complicated regulatory schemes have been implemented to prevent corporations and interest groups from exerting undue influence over candidates and elected officials through contributions. In fact, a slew of lengthy and complex federal statutes govern this arena, including the Federal Election Campaign Act, the Lobbying Disclosure Act, and the Ethics in Government Act. State and local laws may apply as well.
We provide sound legal counsel to corporations, trade associations, political action committees (PACs), and non-profits on such important matters as campaign finance matters, lobbying registration, ethics, as well as gift and disclosure rules.
American political parties have a long and storied history that is almost as old as the founding of our nation. As mentioned, they play a unique role in politics by, among other things, nominating candidates and selecting the method of nomination to be used—a task that can sometimes lead to controversy or even litigation.
Like candidates, corporations, and PACs, political parties and their component committees are also subject to a series of complex campaign finance laws. Failure to adhere to these laws can result in a political party or its committee paying a significant fine or worse.
Moreover, in today’s high-stakes, highly charged political environment, internal party disputes are on the rise. Courts have long been reluctant to wade into political party disputes, but despite this fact, more and more of these internal party disputes are landing in court.
Our firm has extensive experience in the area of counseling political parties and representing them in disputes, including litigation matters. In fact, our team includes a former general counsel of a major statewide political party. We are therefore uniquely situated to provide a political party or its constituent committee with the legal advice it needs.