Major corporations and other entities must advocate before and engage with Congress and federal agencies to help achieve their business objectives. However, in this area, as in all others, they must understand the legal and regulatory environment. The ethical outreach to government officials is governed by a complex set of laws, regulations, and rules full of landmines for unwary and well-meaning organizations. Adding to this complexity is the inconsistency in the patchwork of rules existing at the federal, state, local, and agency level, as well as among foreign governments. Restrictions governing ex parte communications during rule-makings and procurement challenges, prohibitions on gift-giving, lobbying disclosure requirements, restrictions on political campaign contributions and political participation, revolving door restrictions, and rules governing the negotiation of post-service employment create an intricate legal environment for those who would strive to lawfully impact, or do business with, federal, state, and local governments. Companies and individuals must pay close attention to the restrictions on holding employment discussions with current government officials, the rules that may limit the functions that former government officials can perform on behalf of private sector employers, and the prohibitions that may foreclose a company from retaining a former government employee. In this environment, even the most scrupulous organizations may find themselves in the net of a government investigation or battling headlines alleging some sort of impropriety.
A limited number of firms understand the legal and regulatory rules that govern dealing with government. Crowell & Moring routinely advises clients large and small in developing programs designed to achieve compliance with the Procurement Integrity Act (PIA), Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), U.K. Bribery Act, Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), federal election laws, and myriad other government ethics rules and regulations. We have a deep bench of attorneys with prior government experience serving in the highest offices of executive branch agencies, as counsel to members of Congress, or as principal ethics advisors, and agency ethics officials. Our advice is uniquely informed by decades of experience navigating clients through congressional and executive branch investigations in areas of public corruption and procurement fraud. Although we routinely handle investigations of the highest profile, we know that inquiries that don’t result in indictment, or that never make the headlines, nonetheless may cost a client dearly and divert precious resources. For this reason, in interpreting the law, we keep a constant eye on the client's valuable reputation, its primary mission, and its bottom line.
Crowell & Moring's attorneys integrate government ethics into the fabric of client representation. They understand that in today’s legal, investor-driven, and media-driven environment, it is important not only to say you do the right thing, but to actually do it and be seen as doing it. Our Government Ethics, Political Law and Lobbying Compliance team can provide informed advice and representation born of real experience.