Steering Committee

William J. McGinley (Chair)

William McGinley is a partner and Co-Chair of the Election Law Practice Group at Patton Boggs LLP. He graduated from GW Law in 1997.

 He advises a wide range of clients on political law issues. Specifically, Mr. McGinley advises federal and state candidates, political party committees, political action committees, donors, political vendors, and grassroots lobbying and issue advocacy organizations regarding campaign finance, tax, corporate, ethics, and broadcast compliance issues. He also advises corporations and trade associations regarding the formation and administration of political action committees, political activities and communications, and ethics matters.

In addition, Mr. McGinley represents clients before the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and other government agencies in connection with audits and enforcement actions. He also designs and presents compliance seminars for clients on political law matters.

Before joining Patton Boggs, Mr. McGinley served as General Counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). In this capacity, he advised the NRSC and Republican senatorial campaign committees regarding ethics, campaign finance, ballot access, and other election law issues. He also advised the NRSC regarding the operations and activities of its independent expenditure unit.

Mr. McGinley served as Deputy Counsel to the Republican National Committee (RNC), as well. He advised the RNC, state and local political parties, and candidates regarding campaign finance, presidential candidate ballot access, and other election law issues. In this role, he also served as counsel to the RNC Standing Committee on Rules, which makes recommendations to the national conventions concerning the Rules of the Republican Party and national convention delegate selection and allocation procedures.

Joseph Birkenstock

Joseph Birkenstock is a member in Caplin & Drysdale's Washington, D.C. office. He graduated from GW Law in 1992.

He joined the firm in 2005 after serving as Chief Counsel of the Democratic National Committee and practicing political law with a firm in Los Angeles.

Mr. Birkenstock focuses on advising corporations, non-profit organizations, candidates, officeholders, and other clients in structuring new political efforts and administering their political, lobbying, and issue-advocacy projects. He also helps clients respond to controversies involving issues of political law such as alleged campaign finance improprieties, conflicts of interest, and real or perceived violations of other legal and ethical obligations.

While at the DNC, Mr. Birkenstock worked closely with the party's fundraisers and campaign staff to help ensure their compliance with the myriad of state and federal laws governing their activities. He took primary responsibility for responding to several investigations into Democratic Party fundraising following the 1996 presidential election. He also assisted in the litigation and public relations efforts surrounding the 2000 Florida recount and helped implement the DNC's transition to the McCain-Feingold campaign finance regime.

Rebecca Gordon

Rebecca Gordon is a partner at Perkins Coie LLP. She graduated from GW Law in 2001.

Ms.Gordon focuses her practice on political law, including the Lobbying Disclosure Act registration and reporting requirements, federal and state campaign finance law, federal and state laws governing the conveyance of gifts to public officials, and federal and state pay-to-play laws. She advises corporations, trade associations, and connected PACs on how to interact lawfully with public officials, and works with their legal and government relations teams to construct and implement compliance programs. She also counsels public officials, candidates, and political parties on campaign finance and congressional ethics matters.

Rebecca's clients include Fortune 500 corporations, nationwide trade associations, and prominent lobbying firms. She has represented clients before the Federal Election Commission and federal courts on campaign finance issues, and before the U.S. House and Senate Ethics Committees on ethics issues. Rebecca served as Deputy General Counsel to Obama for America during the 2008 campaign, and as Deputy General Counsel to the Democratic National Committee during the 2010 election cycle.

Ronald M. Jacobs

Ronald Jacobs is a partner at Venable LLP. He graduated from GW Law in 2001.

Ronald Jacobs serves as co-chair of Venable’s Political Law Group and as hiring partner for the firm’s Washington office.  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. He also 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.

Mr. Jacobs 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, 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.

Dara Lindenbaum

Dara Lindenbaum is an associate at Sandler, Reiff, Young & Lamb. She graduated from GW Law in 2011.

Dara advises federal, state and local political committees and candidates; state and national parties; 527 organizations; nonprofit organizations and for profit corporations. She counsels clients on complying with state and federal campaign finance and election laws; ethics and gift rules; and lobbying and ethics compliance. Dara also advises non-profit organizations on charitable solicitations, corporate governance issues, securing tax-exempt status with the IRS, and the scope of permissible political activities.

Prior to joining Sandler Reiff, she was an associate counsel in the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under law where she focused on election law and voting rights. Dara was involved in numerous major cases including Mi Familia Vota Education Fund v. Detzner (Florida voter purge), Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder (challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act), and Texas v. Holder (Texas voter ID law).

In addition, Dara worked in states around the country to improve voting procedures and election administration to ensure equal and fair access to voting. In 2012, Dara implemented and organized the national, nonpartisan Election Protection program and trained volunteer attorneys across the country on state and federal voting rights and election laws to assist voters on Election Day.

During law school, Dara was a law clerk at the Federal Election Commission in Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly's office and at Sandler, Reiff, Young & Lamb.

Megan Sowards

Megan Sowards is General Counsel for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).  She graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 2008.

As NRSC General Counsel, Ms. Sowards advises the NRSC, Republican Senators, and campaigns regarding all aspects of federal election law and congressional ethics rules.

Ms. Sowards previously served as Deputy General Counsel for the Romney for President campaign in Boston from May 2011–November 2012. She directed the campaign’s ballot access and delegate selection operation as well as managed FEC compliance for the campaign and its joint fundraising committee. Ms. Sowards also managed the Romney campaign's innovative compliance structure for donors affected by MSRB and SEC "pay to play" rules, providing counsel to fundraisers and donors alike.

Prior to joining the Romney campaign, Ms. Sowards practiced political and international trade law at Patton Boggs in Washington, D.C., where she represented political action committees, political party committees, candidates, corporations, trade associations, and nonprofit groups in matters related to state and federal election law.

Ms. Sowards began her career in the U.S. Senate where she served as speechwriter and press secretary for two Republican Senators before moving to the Bush Administration, where she served as a speechwriter at the U.S. Department of State.

She graduated from Middlebury College in 1998, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

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