Jason Kaune, partner at Nielsen Merksamer
, leads the firm’s Political Law section out of the San Francisco Bay Area Office. He advises clients about the unique and complex laws at the intersection of the public and private sectors in the United States.
For nearly twenty five years, Mr. Kaune has specialized in government ethics, elections, lobbying disclosure, conflicts of interest, and campaign finance laws of federal, state and local governments. He pioneered the firm’s national political law compliance practices, building client-oriented resources and innovative systems with his colleagues that have served as benchmarks in the regulated community.
As a recognized national expert on corporate political activities, his Fortune 500 clients include the nation’s largest technology, pharmaceutical, energy, telecommunications, media, publishing, investment and consumer product companies. His cross-disciplinary approach spans legal compliance, government affairs, public sector contracting, ethics and organizational governance, and specifically includes expertise in the “pay to play” and other anti-corruption restrictions on government contractors, the emerging law surrounding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), California’s Political Reform Act (PRA), and similar laws at every level of government. He represents clients in government agency audits and investigations, associating with local counsel as necessary.
He serves as general counsel and treasurer to a broad range of political action committees, non-profit organizations, advocacy groups, social welfare organizations, independent expenditure committees, professional associations and ballot measures focused on policy areas ranging from land use restrictions to political corruption and government reform. He also represents major donors and government entities on sensitive matters of legal compliance, election controversies and policy.
In 2022, the president of the American Bar Association (ABA) appointed Mr. Kaune as chair of its Standing Committee on Election Law. He currently co-chairs the Practicing Law Institute’s (PLI) widely regarded annual conference on Corporate Political Activities
and has served on its faculty since 2000. He is ranked in Chambers U.S.A. He is a past president of the California Political Attorneys Association, and a member of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws and other professional associations. He served eight years as an elected local government official. He lectures and speaks frequently about politics and policy and currently teaches a graduate level course at the Yale School of Management on “Political Ethics and Issues for Organizations.”
Before joining Nielsen Merksamer, Mr. Kaune worked in the private and non-profit sectors, as a speechwriter, on a presidential campaign, and as an extern for a U.S. Federal District Court Judge and for the California Law Revision Commission. He received his degrees from Yale University, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the University of California Hastings College of the Law.