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unions

Labor unions and allied groups are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(5) of the Internal Revenue Code and are regulated by a complex array of federal and state labor, reporting and disclosure laws, as well as federal and state campaign finance laws.  Our firm represents many unions and allied groups, and we have long and deep experience representing the labor movement in the political and legislative arenas, in internal governance matters, before federal and state labor agencies, and in battles with employers and other adversaries.  That breadth of experience makes the firm especially capable of assisting unions achieve their political, policy and legislative goals.

Campaign Finance and Elections

Unions may spend unlimited amounts on political activities, and the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC created new opportunities for unions to exercise political power on behalf of their members.  But unions engaged in elections must abide by a tangled thicket of campaign finance laws.  For federal elections, the Federal Election Commission produces hundreds of pages of regulations, explanations and opinions each year.  And at the state level, all 50 states have various officials, boards and commissions establishing their own unique sets of campaign laws.  Our attorneys help unions to understand the restrictions and to see a clear path to their goal of electing candidates who will stand with workers.

At both the federal and state levels, our attorneys have extensive experience helping unions and their affiliated PACs and 527s to establish compliance systems to cut through the confusion.  With our guidance, union leaders know – in plain English – where they’ll need to register, how much they can give candidates and when they’ll need to report their activities.  From answering simple questions like, “How much can we give a gubernatorial candidate in Missouri?” to establishing complex multi-million-dollar operations with multiple campaign-finance arms at the national, district and local level, our attorneys provide tailored advice based on a union’s individual needs.

When laws change we help organizations adapt quickly to comply with new restrictions and to take advantage of new opportunities.  And when campaign finance authorities launch investigations, we have years of experience helping unions, PACs and 527s successfully defend themselves.

Lobbying and Government Ethics

As the voice for working people, unions spend a great deal of their resources lobbying.  As they lobby, though, they must pay careful attention to the ever-changing mosaic of registration and reporting requirements, lobbying restrictions and gift bans applicable to communications with Members of Congress, White House and other administration officials, Governors and state officeholders.  Our attorneys are experienced at helping unions consider the implications of lobbying registration and gift rules and to develop compliance systems that enable unions to maximize their legislative influence while minimizing administrative burdens.  Advance planning can help a union to consider how it will be affected by lobbying restrictions, and what alternatives may be available to help the organization achieve its goals. 

 

 

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