Political Law

Overview

BakerHostetler’s Political Law team guides clients through a constantly changing landscape of legal and regulatory challenges touching every element of the political process. Our clients run the gamut from corporate and nonprofit clients to state legislatures, municipalities, members of Congress, political parties, and both federal and state candidates. We help our clients comply with complex state and federal campaign finance regulations, protect the interests of candidates on Election Day and during the recounts and contests that can follow, counsel members of Congress on ethics and financial disclosure requirements, and litigate redistricting and Voting Rights Act cases all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Our deep bench enables the Political Law team to assist clients at every stage of the political process.

Redistricting and the Voting Rights Act

Each case presents unique legal and factual issues distinct from other types of litigation. Our team is poised to provide effective, efficient and economical representation in even the most politically contentious and legally complex redistricting and Voting Rights Act matters. Our team provides real-time counsel at every stage of the redistricting process to help clients cope with tight deadlines, adhere to strict or ambiguous legal requirements, interpret copious demographic and political data, and manage political tensions inherent in the redistricting process.

Our leading litigation team has served as counsel in Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wyoming, and we have helped clients prevail in the U.S. Supreme Court, before three-judge panels in U.S. district courts, in numerous state supreme courts, and in trial and appellate courts around the country.

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Recounts and Election Contests

When elections are decided by razor-thin margins, recounts and election contests often follow. For decades, our team has helped political candidates, secretaries of state, national and state party committees, and other stakeholders manage recounts and litigate election contests. We provide a unique perspective from our experience as principal counsel on statewide or multidistrict contests and recounts in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Washington. Overall, our lawyers have been involved in a recount, election contest or similar dispute in nearly every state.

Lobbying and Ethics

The Political Law team advises corporations, lobbyists, and associations at the state and federal levels on compliance with lobbying laws, including registration under the Lobbying Disclosure Act. Our team also advises elected officials and staff at all levels of government to ensure compliance with financial disclosure and other ethics laws.

Corporate and Nonprofit Campaign Finance Compliance

We work closely with our corporate and nonprofit clients to interpret the interlocking system of federal, state and local regulations to create successful and compliant solutions to achieve client goals. The Political Law team routinely advises national party committees and state parties on campaign finance compliance and election law matters. In addition, our team represents elected officials and candidates at all levels of government and advises independent political committees and super PACs. Our team also litigates challenges to campaign finance regulations around the country and represents individuals and organizations in civil and criminal enforcement matters.

Select Experience

  • Successfully defended Ohio’s state legislative and congressional districting plans against partisan gerrymandering challenges before the Ohio Supreme Court and federal court, respectively, in Wilson v. Cox (2011) and Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute v. Householder (2019).
  • Represented the prevailing candidates in Ohio congressional (2018) and North Carolina Supreme Court races (2020) in recount and election contests.
  • Represented legislative leadership in redistricting litigation in Pennsylvania (2018) and North Carolina (2019).
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Experience

  • Successfully defended Ohio’s state legislative and congressional districting plans against partisan gerrymandering challenges before the Ohio Supreme Court and federal court, respectively, in Wilson v. Cox (2011) and Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute v. Householder (2019).
  • Represented the prevailing candidates in Ohio congressional (2018) and North Carolina Supreme Court races (2020) in recount and election contests.
  • Represented legislative leadership in redistricting litigation in Pennsylvania (2018) and North Carolina (2019).
  • Assisted winning candidates in defending their wins throughout recounts and election contests for multiple races in the 2017 Virginia House of Delegates elections.
  • Represented a client regarding reapportionment of legislative districts in Georgia in Larios v. Cox. The U.S. Supreme Court summarily affirmed the judgment of a three-judge panel in favor of our client.
  • Defended the 2011 redistricting plan drawn by the Virginia House of Delegates against claims of racial gerrymandering in Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections, a case brought before a three-judge panel.
  • Represented intervening minority plaintiffs in the redistricting case Georgia v. Ashcroft, and prevailed in the U.S. Supreme Court after oral argument.
  • Represented the Ohio General Assembly in Ohio State Conference of the NAACP v. Husted (2014), defending legislation prescribing rules for early voting.
  • Initiated litigation in Ohio seeking to enjoin practice where some county boards of election sent applications for absent voter’s ballots to all electors in the county and some would pre-pay the postage to return the application and/or ballot unless all Ohio counties were required to take the same approach under the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause. Vanzant v. Brunner, S.D. Ohio No. 1:10-cv-00596.

Recognition

  • Chambers USA
    • Tax Controversy ‒ Nationwide (2014 to 2020)
    • Tax ‒ District of Columbia (2010 to 2020)
    • Tax ‒ Ohio (2020)
  • Chambers USA: Litigation: General Commercial
    • Ohio (2007 to 2020)
  • Recognized as one of the top law firms for client service, BakerHostetler was named to the 2020 BTI Client Service 30 for the sixth consecutive year.

Key Contacts