Jason Kaune leads the firm’s political law section. He is a partner who practices political law and government ethics, including advising clients on the election, lobbying disclosure, conflict of interest, gift and gratuity, and campaign finance laws of the federal, state and local governments applicable in California and across the country. He additionally has administrative oversight of the firm’s Bay Area office.
For over fifteen years, Mr. Kaune has pioneered the firm’s national compliance practice, building client-oriented resources and systems with his political law colleagues that have served as benchmarks in the regulated community. His clients include the nation’s largest technology, pharmaceutical, energy, telecommunications, media, publishing, investment and consumer product companies.
He is one of the leading political attorneys in California, advising individuals, entities and government agencies on complex election law and conflict of interest matters. He has served as counsel and treasurer to independent expenditure committees and ballot measures on topics ranging from land use restrictions to government reform. He has experience advising clients that are active in multiple states regarding the political laws of each state and major local jurisdictions across the nation.
He advises corporations, advocacy groups, individuals, non-profit organizations and governments on the increasingly complex regulation of the political intersection of the public and private sectors in the United States, with a focus on establishing and maintaining national political law compliance programs. He also serves as counsel and professional treasurer for ballot measures, political action committees, advocacy groups and social welfare organizations.
He represents clients before the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the Federal Election Commission and advises clients on their dealings with regard to state and local government ethics agencies across the country, working with local counsel as necessary. His expertise includes “pay to play” restrictions on government contractors and the financial industry, the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), California’s Political Reform Act (PRA), and the similar laws at every level of government.
He is a past president of the California Political Attorneys Association and member of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws and other professional associations. He serves on the board of directors for a manufacturing business start-up and religious organization. He currently serves as an elected trustee and vice president of the Orinda Unified School District.
Before joining Nielsen Merksamer, Mr. Kaune worked in the private and non-profit sectors as a speech writer for a national political party in Washington, D.C., as an assistant director of the Association of Yale Alumni, and for the presidential exploratory committee of a former state governor. He also served on a law journal, as an extern for a U.S. Federal District Court Judge and for the California Law Revision Commission.
- General counsel and professional treasurer for advocacy organizations, political action committees and social welfare organizations.
- Outside counsel to corporations and trade associations in regard to campaign finance, lobby disclosure and government ethics compliance.
- Expert and advisor on conflicts of interests involving government officials, contractors and regulated entities.
- Since 2000, Mr. Kaune has been a co-author and faculty for the Practising Law Institute's course on "Corporate Political Activities," including chapters on an Overview of Federal Campaign Finance: Contribution and Expenditure Limitations; State Campaign Finance Laws; Pay-to-Play Laws: An Introduction and Overview; State Lobby and Gift Laws; and Political Tax Considerations.
- Exporting Ethics: Lessons from Russia’s Attempt to Regulate Federal Lobbying, 20 Hastings Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 815
- The Future of Public Contracting in California: Alternatives to Proposition 224, Hastings Public Law Research Institute
- Office of the White House Counsel: Past, Present and Future, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
- Frequently presents on matters of political law before client groups, trade associations and legal education seminars.
- Co-authors an annual national compendium of campaign finance law and litigation developments for the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) on behalf of the preeminent organization of government ethics administrators.
- Provided commentary for KTVU (Fox) on election law issues and expert commentary on political matters.