Ronald Jacobs serves as co-chair of Venable's Political Law Group. 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. Mr. Jacobs 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. Along with Lawrence Norton, he co-edits the firm's Political Law Briefing blog.
Mr. Jacobs understands the often-contradictory rules imposed by the different laws that apply to political activities. He 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, charities, campaigns, Super PACs, 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.
Some of Mr. Jacobs’s significant matters have included:
- Serving as general counsel to a successful 2014 candidate for the United States Senate.
- Representing a Super PAC that supported a candidate in the 2012 presidential primary, creating one of the first Super PACs active in a Los Angeles mayor's race and one of the first Super PACs active in a local Maryland election, as well as representing Super PACs active in Congressional elections.
- Creating a 501(c)(4) that engaged in issue advocacy and candidate activities connection with the 2012 presidential general election.
- Obtaining approval from Senate Ethics Committee for major nationally-televised charitable event held during the Holiday Season in Washington.
- Developing pay-to-play compliance policy and procedures for a large hedge fund that actively solicits state contributions and for a hospitality company that serves state and local governments.
- Successfully defending a large, nationally-known trade association during a Congressional investigation into allegations of fraudulent grassroots lobbying activity.
- Assisting a large social welfare organization with multiple Congressional investigations and several class action lawsuits.
- Serving as outside pro bono counsel to Warrior Canine Connection, a charity that assists soldiers suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder to train service dogs for physically wounded soldiers.
Mr. Jacobs is a frequent speaker and author on campaign finance and lobbying regulation issues. He serves on the board of the Human Rights Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving democracy and protecting human rights in the Americas and as pro bono counsel to the Warrior Canine Connection, a charity that helps soldiers suffering from traumatic brain injury and psychological issues train service dogs for physically wounded soldiers. Mr. Jacobs is also a top 5 faculty member of Lawline, a leading provider of online and live continuing education courses for attorneys across the United States.