Former FEC Chairman Matt Petersen Joins Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky
September 05, 2019
Firm with nation’s top political law practice also names former NRSC, NRCC general counsels as Partners
Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, PLLC (HVJT) – a leading law firm that serves a diverse client base of prominent companies, non-profits, individuals and campaigns – announced today that Matthew Petersen, former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), is joining as Partner. Mr. Petersen is recognized nationally for his experience and expertise in election and ethics laws, free speech, campaign finance, lobbying disclosures, and political activities. The firm also named Jessica Furst Johnson, former general counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee, and Chris Winkelman, former National Republican Congressional Committee general counsel, as Partners.
HVJT’s clients select the firm for its wide range of services and counsel on all manner of government affairs issues and areas of legal focus, including compliance, governance, First Amendment, redistricting and charity- and voter- registration. Today’s announcement further cements HVJT, with its concentration of preeminent talent, as having the nation’s leading political law practice.
“Matt offers an unrivaled combination of experience, expertise and professionalism across all facets of election law,” said Jill Holtzman Vogel, HVJT founder and managing partner. “His guiding hand in shaping federal election law, during a period of transformative change across three Presidential Administrations, and nearly two decades of service in the Executive and Legislative branches, makes him a tremendous asset for our clients. Matt’s hiring combined with elevating former NRSC and NRCC general counsels to Partner shows our commitment to attracting, keeping, developing and concentrating the best talent, especially in the rapidly changing field of political law.”
“HVJT is one of the nation’s go-to firms for tough, complex legal issues, particularly those that touch on our political system,” Mr. Petersen said. “I’ve seen firsthand the quality of their people and their counsel in some of the most high-stakes regulatory, policy and political matters. I’m thrilled to be joining such a dynamic team and going to work on behalf of their impressive and rapidly growing roster of clients.”
Mr. Petersen was appointed to the FEC by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on June 24, 2008. When he resigned in August 2019, Mr. Petersen had served on the FEC for 11 years, including as Chairman (2010 and 2016) and Vice Chairman (2009, 2015 and 2019). During his time as a commissioner, he promoted free speech on the Internet; vigorous free press rights, including for new media; due process and transparency in FEC operations; and practical deregulation of political parties.
Founded in 2001, HVJT is acknowledged as having one of the top political law practices in the country by Chambers and Partners, and its lawyers have been recognized as the top in their field by Washingtonian, Politico, and Campaigns & Elections. The firm’s growth and expansion reflect its success to date and its desire to continue to deliver innovative solutions across a range of legal services and clients.
“We are thrilled to announce Jessica Furst Johnson’s promotion to Partner,” Ms. Holtzman Vogel said. “In addition to her deep leadership experience across legal and operational roles at both the NRSC and the NRCC, Jessica’s extensive, successful, high-profile experience has been a remarkable asset for our clients.”
“I’ve been fortunate to work with a wide range of candidates, committees, officeholders, and issue advocacy groups on campaign finance and election law matters – and this team provides the best client counsel,” said Ms. Furst Johnson. “In this political environment, our work is only increasing in importance, and we are poised to deliver success.”
“Chris Winkelman’s return to HJVT as a Partner is an exciting announcement for our firm,” Ms. Holtzman Vogel continued. “Chris brings extensive experience at the nexus of data and digital practices and political law following several cycles at the NRCC. He is known to many of our clients, and they are eager to once again benefit from his strategic counsel.”
“I’m pleased to return to HVJT to continue working with the best counsel and most successful clients in the business,” Mr. Winkelman said. “The expertise across this outstanding team has us well-positioned to provide the experienced counsel that high-profile campaigns and organizations rely on for success.”
More About Matt Petersen
Prior to the FEC, Mr. Petersen served as Republican chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration; counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration where he was extensively involved in the crafting and passage of the Help America Vote Act of 2002; and at the law firm of Wiley Rein LLP, specializing in election and campaign finance law.
Mr. Petersen received his J.D. in 1999 from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was a member of the Virginia Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in philosophy from Brigham Young University in 1996. He also received an A.S. with high honors from Utah Valley State College.
More About Jessica Furst Johnson
As HVJT Partner, Jessica Furst Johnson will continue to serve as General Counsel at the Republican Governors Association. In the 2018 election cycle, as NRSC general counsel, Ms. Furst Johnson helped oversee the legal strategy for the November 2018 Florida recount, managing nearly 75 attorneys, 14 law firms and more than 20 distinct lawsuits in less than two weeks’ time. From 2009-2016, Ms. Furst Johnson worked at the NRCC, first as General Counsel and then adding the responsibility of Deputy Executive Director, as well as serving as Independent Expenditure Director, managing the paid efforts in 30+ congressional races, leading a staff and vendor team of more than 80 people, and a budget exceeding $76 million. Earlier, Ms. Furst Johnson worked at Foley & Lardner LLP, and served as Communications Director to Congresswoman Katherine Harris’ successful 2002 and 2004 congressional campaigns in Sarasota, Florida.
Ms. Furst Johnson received her J.D. from the University of Florida, where she was an editor of the Florida Law Review, and her undergraduate degrees in Journalism and Political Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
More About Chris Winkelman
Chris Winkelman returns to HVJT as Partner after serving as General Counsel to the National Republican Congressional Committee for three election cycles. While at the NRCC, he advised Members of Congress on high-visibility ethics and campaign matters while directing staff and overseeing day-to-day compliance needs. In addition to matters of corporate law, he dedicated much of his tenure to redistricting litigation as well as cutting-edge political data and digital practices. Mr. Winkelman, previously a Senior Associate at HVJT, began his legal career as a Judicial Law Clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. During his term, he handled appeals brought by veterans who were dissatisfied with the level of benefits awarded by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Previously, he served at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
Mr. Winkelman attended Rollins College and received his J.D. from Stetson University College of Law where he was a member of the Stetson Law Review, Moot Court Board, and a graduate of the school’s Honors Program.
Recognized as a top law firm with the nation’s leading political law practice, Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky PLLC is dedicated to helping clients achieve goals by providing strategic counsel and compliance advice to people and organizations engaged in political, policy and other public matters. Clients range from officeholders, candidates, PACs, party committees, to non-profit organizations, business corporations, trade associations, and individuals engaged at the federal, state, and local levels. Services include a particular focus on compliance with the Federal Election Campaign Act, the Ethics in Government Act, the Lobbying Disclosure Act, the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and the Internal Revenue Code, as well as analogous state law and Congressional rules.