Sean J. Wright

Associate
Wright Sean

Sean Wright provides strategic advice and counsel to clients in all areas of political law, including federal and state campaign finance law, election law, gifts and ethics rules, and lobbying registration and disclosure. Building on his role as a former Federal Election Commission (FEC) attorney and federal prosecutor, Sean helps guide politically engaged individuals, tax-exempt organizations, companies, trade associations, and other groups to comply with the complex rules governing political advocacy. Sean is a problem-solver and is passionate about helping his clients achieve their strategic and political goals.  

In assisting his clients, Sean brings the experience and perspective of a former regulator and federal prosecutor. Prior to joining Venable, he was an attorney in the Policy Division of the Office of General Counsel at the FEC. He also served as special counsel to Commissioner Ann M. Ravel, where he advised the commissioner on litigation, enforcement, and policy matters. A significant portion of Sean’s practice includes advising clients on compliance with FEC and state campaign finance laws and regulations. He helps clients structure their fundraising, spending, and communications to comply with FEC and state rules to achieve their strategic and political goals. 

Sean also served as a special assistant United States attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, where he investigated and prosecuted violations of federal criminal laws, presented before federal grand juries, appeared before federal magistrate and district court judges, and prepared criminal litigation documents and appeals. 

Earlier in his career, Sean worked on the legal policy team for the Center for American Progress, where he researched and wrote reports, white papers, and policy analyses on campaign finance, voting rights, civil rights, and criminal law. He also clerked for the Honorable Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  

Sean’s specific areas of experience include:

  • Political Law
    • Campaign finance (federal, state, local)
      • PACs and super PACs
      • Candidates and campaigns
      • Political contributions
      • Audits and enforcement
    • Lobbying disclosure (federal, state, local)
      • Registration and reporting
      • Compliance systems
    • Political advertising
    • Government ethics and gift rules (federal, state, local)

  • Tax-exempt Organizations 
    • Formation and ongoing representation of 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(6), and 527 organizations
    • Corporate governance
    • Conflicts of interest
    • IRS restrictions on lobbying and political activities

Related Practices

Related Industries

Experience

Government Experience

  • Attorney, Office of General Counsel, Federal Election Commission
  • Special Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • Special Counsel, Office of Commissioner Ann M. Ravel, Federal Election Commission

Representative Matters

  • Represented trade association during Federal Election Commission rulemaking by drafting comments and preparing witness to testify during public hearing  
  • Member of team representing fiscal sponsor of innovative nonprofit advocacy projects engaged in fast-paced, high-profile grassroots campaigns to influence public policy and elections
  • Formed and advised super PAC that spent nearly $10 million in 2018 U.S. House races
     

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. magna cum laude The Ohio State University, Michael E. Moritz College of Law 2013
  • Order of the Coif

    Managing Editor and Staff Editor, Ohio State Law Journal

  • M.A. Public Policy and Management The Ohio State University John Glenn College of Public Affairs 2013
  • B.A. Political Science and History magna cum laude Miami University 2009
  • Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Ohio

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Clerk Experience

  • Honorable Beryl A. Howell U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Ohio State Bar Association
     

Recognition
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  • Member, Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, 2019 Political Leaders Program 
  • Fellow, 2019 New Leaders Council (NLC) Virginia Inaugural Class  
     

Community
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Pro Bono

  • Maintains an active practice representing clients in housing conditions and eviction litigation proceedings in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Personal Activities

  • Member, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee