Senior Counsel - Political Law

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace where innovation and results are a way of life.

 

EDF envisions a world in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected to the environmental challenges we face and are engaged in creating durable, equitable solutions. We seek talented candidates who share our Core Values of Respect, Results, Innovation, Optimism, and Integrity, and support our Commitment to Diversity.  

Senior Counsel - Political Law

Washington, DC [or remote]

 

Overall Function

 

The Political Law Counsel is a subject matter expert on federal exempt organization tax law related to advocacy and political activities, and federal, state and local campaign finance and lobbying laws.  The Political Law Counsel will also oversee global lobbying and campaign activities compliance.  The Political Law Counsel provides enterprise-wide guidance, including to Political Affairs and EDF Action, EDF’s affiliated 501(c)(4) organization.  The Political Law Counsel reports to EDF’s Chief Legal Officer and would be closely integrated into the advocacy and political teams within the organization.   

  

Key Responsibilities

  • Advise regularly on all legal and compliance issues raised by EDF’s advocacy and EDF Action’s political work.  Must be a   subject matter expert on campaign finance laws and lobbying laws at the federal, state, and local levels, and provide guidance and oversight to our global affiliates on campaign and lobbying activities.   
  • Serve as legal advisor for all political work of EDF Action and related entities, including Federal Election Commission compliance for independent expenditure communications and PAC contributions and reporting
  • Advise on federal tax law issues for 501(c)(3) and (c)(4), and 527 organizations
  • Advise on ethics and gift laws
  • Review solicitations, ads, and public communications under tax, campaign finance, lobbying, and communications and libel laws, and ensure compliance with other regulations such as Telephone Consumer Protection Act and state robocall   regulations
  • Review contracts, grants and proposals for political law and tax implications, and assist with 990 reporting
  • Supervise all election reporting and advise on lobby reporting and compliance systems
  • Assist with nonprofit governance as needed for EDF Action and its projects
  • Develop, draft and implement policies, procedures and training on political law, conflict of interest, tax law and other   issues as needed
  • Work effectively with outside counsel as necessary and effectively manage related billing and budgetary considerations. 
  • Participate in advancing EDF DEI goals in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected, included, and empowered to address the environmental and organizational challenges in alignment with EDF values.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

  • A JD degree from an accredited law school
  • Admitted to practice in at least one state or the District of Columbia
  • At least of 5 years of concentrated experience in political law and nonprofit tax advocacy, with deep expertise in Federal, state and local campaign finance laws, lobby disclosure laws including the Lobbying Disclosure Act and state lobby laws, and federal tax law for exempt organizations
  • Ability to make judgment calls, and communicate complex concepts in a straightforward manner
  • Interest in EDF’s and EDF Action’s mission and goals  
  • Interest in working closely with a sophisticated political team.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • Experience appearing before the Federal Election Commission and/or state election boards or ethics boards
  • Experience working as in-house attorney for a group of nonprofit affiliated advocacy organizations
  • Familiarity with pay-to-play rules
  • Working knowledge of lobbying and political activity tax rules applicable to private foundations
  • Experience with other areas of law and regulation, such as Foreign Agents Registration Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Federal, state and local ethics and gift laws, TCPA and FCC regulations, state robocall rules, nonprofit corporate governance. 
  • Prior experience as in-house counsel preferred. 
  • Demonstrates self-awareness, cultural competency and inclusivity, and ability to work with colleagues and stakeholders across diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Ability to navigate a complex organization and work in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to work both independently and lead as part of a team in a dynamic and creative environment with colleagues and partners of varied background and experience.
  • Ability to quickly juggle competing demands and effectively manage priorities.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, and a sense of humor.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.

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