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Steve Roberts

Partner

Steve Roberts is a Partner at the law firm of Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, focusing his practice on lobbying compliance, campaign finance, and political committees. Mr. Roberts is passionate about maximizing the ability of the corporate and PAC community to engage in the political and policy space. His legal advice is tailored for his clients who have to “get to yes” to effectively pursue their policy and political goals, including Fortune 500 companies, trade associations, corporate PACs, non-profit corporations, charities, elected officials, political candidates and campaigns, national party committees, and individuals engaged in issues at the federal, state, and local level.

As part of his practice, Mr. Roberts advises clients on compliance strategies with federal, state and local lobbying laws, pay-to-play limitations, campaign finance restrictions and requirements, and gifts and entertainment limitations for government officials. In that role, Mr. Roberts works with donors, corporations and trade associations on the Federal Election Campaign Act and the impacts of court and agency decisions altering campaign finance laws, the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA), the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), as well as state and local corollary laws. Steve also assists corporate clients with establishing and forming corporate and trade association PACs, and provides guidance on best practices for success with those committees. Mr. Roberts routinely aids clients in responding to the Federal Election Commission on compliance, enforcement and advisory matters. Mr. Roberts has also prepared Senate, House, executive agency, and candidate financial disclosures ranking among the largest ever filed in the history of the Ethics in Government Act.

Mr. Roberts is a subject matter expert on a host of issues that are highly pertinent to corporations engaged in grassroots advocacy and political engagement, including lobbying compliance and political engagement in an age of social media, tax-exempt organizations as advocacy tools, peer-to-peer texting as a way to energize existing and potential grassroots supporters, corporate political giving, and FARA compliance strategies. As a former registered lobbyist himself, he knows how to guide clients to strategies that are compliant and effective.

Mr. Roberts has also designed and put into practice corporate compliance systems and policies for some of the world’s largest companies for federal, state and local lobbying tracking, as well as implemented institution-wide reporting systems for compliance with lobbying, campaign finance, and gifts laws.

In this moment at which the free speech rights of certain speakers—including organizations and their executives—are questioned by the public, the press, and even sometimes government officials, Mr. Roberts finds opportunities for his clients to engage productively in political and lobbying activity. He is a known expert on this topic and a frequent speaker for groups of public affairs and political industry professionals, including events hosted by: the Public Affairs Council, the American Association of Political Consultants, Campaigns & Elections, the Republican National Lawyers Association, the Council on Governmental Ethics Law, the California Political Treasurers Association, and the American League of Lobbyists. Mr. Roberts is also a regular guest lecturer at the GW Graduate School of Political Management. Legal Bisnow has also named Mr. Roberts one of Washington’s “Trending 40 Lawyers Under 40.”

Representative matters that Mr. Roberts guides clients through include:

  • Establishing internal political and lobbying reporting, codes of conduct, and compliance guidelines for global companies with multi-division touchpoints with government officials;
  • Representing companies and their PACs through lobbying and political accounting audits with federal and state regulatory bodies;
  • Representing companies, public affairs firms, and tax-exempt organizations in matters related to FARA compliance, include registration guidance, reporting and tracking activity, and Department of Justice audits;
  • Starting and growing corporate and trade association PACs, including crafting goal-oriented and workable bylaws, growing affinity and PAC match programs, and leading PACs through a corporate merger/reorganization;
  • Defending Members of Congress and staff through various investigations and reviews of activity by U.S. Senate and House ethics committees;
  • Defending PACs, their connected corporations, Super PACs, and candidates through the complaint and matter under review process by the Federal Election Commission; and
  • Complex financial disclosures by Members of Congress, their senior staff, and federal Executive Branch officials.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Roberts spent several years at a global AmLaw 100 firm where he also practiced political law. Before law school, Mr. Roberts worked as a political consultant focusing on email fundraising and online advertising, and as a fundraiser at the Republican National Committee.

Mr. Roberts is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law (J.D.) and the George Washington University (B.A.), and a member of the Virginia State Bar, the District of Columbia Bar, the Republican National Lawyers Association, the Capitol Hill Club, and the University Club of Washington.

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