September 27, 2022

In Presidential legal fee race, Trump beats Hillary

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By Brian Baxter, The Am Law Daily

The five remaining U.S. presidential candidates all have a need for outside counsel on the campaign trail, and not surprisingly it’s the two frontrunners that have accrued the most in legal expenses.

Below are the official names of each remaining presidential campaign registered with the Federal Elections Commission and their legal billings of note through April 20. After scrolling through several months of FEC filings, Jones Day and its work for Trump narrowly edges out Perkins Coie, which is advising Hillary Clinton, in the race for top legal biller. Several months still remain in this election cycle, of course, including a potentially litigious delegate fight on the Republican side this summer.

Not all of the campaign expenditures listed here are for legal fees. Some payments are to reimburse firms for office space or some other use of their facilities. We contacted several firms mentioned below to clarify payments they received from certain campaigns, but didn’t hear back from all of them by the time of this post.

Donald J. Trump For President Inc. (New York)

Jones Day (Washington, D.C.) – $759,793.20 – By now, the high-powered Am Law 100 firm’s work on behalf of The Donald is out in the open, internal and external recriminations aside. Donald McGahn II, the firm’s lead lawyer for Trump, has been written about extensively, including in an excellent piece by The Washington Post earlier this month looking at Trump’s longstanding ties to his top campaign lawyer. Jones Day recently added to its Trump legal team, although one partner familiar at the firm with close ties to the Republican establishment has chosen to remain on the sidelines this year as a political pundit.

Kent Gray, Attorney at Law (Springfield, Illinois) – $70,825.20 – Last fall Trump named the Illinois lawyer his campaign director in the state, where Gray lost a 2014 Republican primary to become a circuit court judge. Politico reported in March on Gray’s removal from his campaign role due to alleged disorganization ahead of the Illinois primary, which Trump still won.

Elcock Law Firm (Des Moines, Iowa) – $36,069.89The firm’s founder, a lobbyist and member of the Republican National Lawyers Association, worked as a field organizer for Trump in Iowa. Earlier this year, Marc Elcock’s name was cited in a civil complaint filed by a former female campaign employee, who alleged she was paid less than her male colleagues.

Tyner Law Firm (Jackson, Mississippi) – $8,000 – Mitchell Tyner Sr., the firm’s namesake, serves as Mississippi chair of Trump’s election campaign. Last week Tyner said that the state’s Republican Party chairman or governor should resign as a result of text messages suggesting potential manipulation of the delegate selection process ahead of July’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman (New York) – $1,439.86 – The Big Apple-based firm, as noted earlier this month by sibling publication the New York Law Journal, has long handled a variety of matters for Trump, including a high-profile fraud suit filed by the New York State Attorney General’s Office over Trump University.

Cruz For President (Houston)

The Gober Group/Gober Hilgers (Austin, Texas) – $179,577.54 – The Gober Group, formed by Harvard Law School graduate Chris Gober on Jan. 1 after Gober Hilgers split into two separate firms, serves as Cruz’s campaign legal counsel. Gober himself is a former of counsel at Fish & Richardson who also once served as general counsel of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Beirne, Maynard & Parsons (Houston) – $18,188.68 – James “Trey” Trainor III, a political and election law partner at the midsized Texas firm in Austin, is a staunch Cruz supporter. Beirne Maynard has previously advised conservative political causes in Texas.

The Law Office of Sharee Langenstein (Murphysboro, Illinois) – $8,711.76 – The Illinois constitutional lawyer and state senate candidate successfully represented Cruz earlier this year in tossing a petition seeking to get him dismissed from the Illinois ballot on citizenship grounds.

Kasich For America (Columbus, Ohio)

Baker & Hostetler (Cleveland) – $98,559.96 – E. Mark Braden, named a Republican Lawyer of the Year in 2014 and currently of counsel with the firm in Washington, D.C., spoke with the NYLJ earlier this month about the likelihood of a contested RNC convention this summer. Braden, a former chief counsel for the Republican National Committee, helped get Kasich’s campaign started last year.

Lawrence M. Otter, Attorney at Law (Doylestown, Pennsylvania) – $14,487.50 – The local elections lawyer represented Kasich in a March dispute over whether or not an objection was filed in time to bar the current Ohio governor—born near Pittsburgh—from commonwealth ballots. That challenge was subsequently dropped, and Kasich finished third in Pennsylvania’s primary on Tuesday.

Law Office of John Fogarty Jr. (Chicago) – $10,000 – Fogarty serves as general counsel of the Illinois Republican Party and reportedly was one of four individuals who requested copies of petitions seeking to keep Kasich on the state’s ballot despite not receiving the minimum number of required signatures. Kasich remained on the ballot but placed third behind Cruz and Trump.

Hillary For America (New York)

Perkins Coie (Washington, D.C.) – $755,219.93 – The firm’s political law chair Marc Elias—a noted advocate for Democratic Party causes—was retained more than a year ago to serve as general counsel of Clinton’s presidential campaign. Perkins Coie, which previously advised President Barack Obama on his quest for higher office, also helped him obtain a copy of his original birth certificate in Hawaii.

Ballard Spahr (Philadelphia) – $8,720.18 – The firm is home to special counsel and former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell, a prominent Clinton-backer. Kenneth Jarin, leader of Ballard Spahr’s government relations, regulatory affairs and contracting group, is also one of Clinton’s top bundlers.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (Washington, D.C.) – $2,658.76 – While Akin Gump’s ties to the Clintons may run deep, the firm hasn’t handled any legal work for Hillary’s campaign, instead receiving reimbursements for office space it provided last year. An Akin Gump partner known for his private equity and pro bono work did make news last year for representing the former Secretary of State’s ex-IT aide as he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights before several congressional committees probing Clinton’s government emails.

Reeves & Brightwell (Austin, Texas) – $2,500 – The firm is a commercial litigation and disputes shop based in the capital of the Lone Star State, where Clinton handily won a Democratic primary on March 1.

Sullivan & Cromwell (New York) – $100 – The prominent Wall Street firm, whose employees have donated heavily to Hillary’s 2016 campaign, also hosted a fundraiser for Clinton last year in New York.

Bernie 2016 (Burlington, Vermont)

Garvey Schubert Barer (Seattle/Washington, D.C.) – $419,729.61The Am Law Daily reported last week on the firm’s work for Sanders, including in IP disputes related to campaign branding. Sanders’ lead lawyer at the firm, Brad Deutsch, also advises clients in the nascent legal marijuana industry, but he said it’s just a coincidence that Sanders is the only current presidential candidate advocating for the widespread legalization of marijuana.

IMAGE: Clinton (Alex Wong/iStockphoto), Trump (andykatz/iStockphoto)

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