Allen & Overy Releases Guide on Corporate Political Activity in the United States

Allen & Overy, one of the top ten corporate law firms in the world,  has just released a new guidebook to corporate political activity in the United States.

Charles Borden

Charles Borden

The guide was written by the Washington, DC-based political law team and is intended to provide “a user’s manual for companies that are politically engaged or seeking to increase their electoral participation. “

“U.S. companies and foreign companies with operations or subsidiaries in the U.S. increasingly need to engage in the U.S. political and electoral process to remain competitive,” said Charles Borden, head of the firm’s political law practice. “Regulatory developments and public procurement, directed both in Washington, DC and in state capitols, can have a significant impact on revenue and profitability. One recent McKinsey & Company study found that almost 30% of earnings for companies in most industries is connected to government and regulatory intervention, with the figure rising to 50% in highly regulated sectors such as finance.  As a result, corporations need to engage in the political process as part of their overall corporate strategy.”

Borden said that corporate political activities are highly regulated as they are subject to a complex web of federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

“Any interaction with a public official, from making a political contribution, lobbying or having lunch, could be subject to restrictions or disclosure obligations,” Borden said. “These restrictions are seldom intuitive, and they have been further complicated by a series of recent court decisions that have modified — in some cases, significantly — statutes and regulations that remain on the books.  Moreover, a violation of political laws—even a minor ‘foot fault’—can potentially have significant reputational and brand consequences.”

Borden said that the guide is designed to help these companies understand and comply with federal campaign finance laws and the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the agency that oversees these laws.

Borden said that the guide “will be particularly useful for foreign companies with U.S. operations or U.S. subsidiaries that are politically engaged or that are seeking to increase their participation in the political process.”

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