In recent years, congressional investigations have increasingly focused on business activities formerly subject only to administrative or regulatory processes, bringing additional complexity and public profile to already challenging matters. They often involve high-stakes consequences, including criminal referrals, jeopardy to business transactions and operations, draconian legislation and damage to reputations.
In conjunction with assembling a bipartisan lobbying force in the nation's capital, Hunton & Williams LLP offers experience in a variety of congressional investigations and public hearings. We have substantial experience representing clients in high-profile investigations by Congress, while protecting applicable privileges and avoiding conflicts. We provide political analysis, communications advice and lobbying that is complementary to such representation. We enjoy strong relationships with officials in Congress, the administration and federal regulatory bodies, as well as with state legislatures, executive and regulatory branches, local governing bodies and international forums.
Our frontline professionals include former federal prosecutors and senior government officials, including a former staff director to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and former counsels to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, all with first-hand experience conducting congressional investigations from the inside; several other former counsel to senate and house committees; a former deputy director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition; former FBI special agents; a former FBI senior counselor; a former counsel for the SEC; a former state prosecutor, and a senior special counsel in the SEC's Enforcement Division.
Understanding that a multidisciplinary approach is crucial in cases involving high-profile controversies, our practice encompasses numerous areas, including litigation, lobbying, tax, criminal defense, cybersecurity, homeland security and administrative law. Combined with investigative skills, this knowledge lets us staff matters with professionals focused in particular fields who design specific compliance programs for clients to manage future risk. We provide “holistic” representation with lawyers experienced in the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. We also are accomplished in damage control and crisis management, working closely with public relations and marketing personnel to obtain the best possible results in media coverage and communications strategies.
Business Crimes Defense and Legislative Investigations
Companies now face severe penalties, including stiff fines, debarment and supervision by court-appointed trustees, and the government frequently holds corporations criminally liable for the acts of individual employees. A criminal referral to the Department of Justice or other federal, state or local law enforcement agencies may result from a legislative investigation. A congressional investigation can destroy the public image and equity value a corporation has spent years building. Investigations of a company or its officers and employees can turn into a “bet the company” event. The risks are not limited to unfavorable publicity. They can also include criminal referrals, civil enforcement proceedings and third-party litigation.
Our experience in federal and state forums includes: the representation and, as necessary, internal investigations of corporate clients in anticipation of and in response to governmental investigations; the litigation of criminal proceedings during the investigative and grand jury process; the negotiation of immunities from prosecution and plea agreements; and the litigation and trial of complex criminal proceedings from indictment through verdict, sentencing proceedings or appeals. In addition, we have handled parallel civil and criminal inquiries where civil litigation or agency proceedings have occurred simultaneously with grand jury or congressional inquiries.
TurnStone Investigative Group
Hunton & Williams has its own internal investigative services group of former government investigative agents who have worked for the FBI, GAO, DEA, Department of Labor, IRS, US Customs, the Secret Service, and other domestic and international agencies. Under the direct supervision of our lawyers, this team gathers facts quickly, accurately and discreetly.
Congressional Investigations Team
- Timothy Heaphy, former United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia and former Staff to Chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee
- Joe Stanko, former Counsel, US House Energy & Commerce Committee
- Fred Eames, former Counsel, US House Energy & Commerce Committee
- Sean McLaughlin, former Staff Director to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Chief of Staff to the House Judiciary Committee
- Rod Hastie, former Deputy to Special Assistant, Bush White House
- Mark Bierbower, former US Senate Legislative Assistant
- Richard May, former Special Assistant, IRS Chief Counsel
- Scott Kimpel, former Counsel to SEC Commissioner
- John Delionado, former Assistant US Attorney, Southern District of Florida
- Laura Colombell Marshall, former Senior Member, US Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia
- Paul Tiao, former Senior Counselor for Cybersecurity and Technology to Director of the FBI
Selected Congressional Investigations Experience
- Coalition of 11 major corporations in connection with senate investigation of tax credits in coal synfuel industry
- Joint venture of two large companies in response to Senate investigation and hearing on Federal Emergency Management Administration contracting for emergency disaster relief services
- Fortune 10 manufacturing and retailing company in connection with congressional investigations of tobacco industry
- Major League Baseball player during high-profile congressional investigation and hearing before the House Government Reform Committee regarding the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball
- Major electric utility in investigation into 2003 Northeast-Midwest blackout
- Administration appointee in televised hearings in senate and house on alleged corporate influence in agency review of environmental laws
- Conducted internal investigation and represented government contractor in response to congressional investigation involving private security in Iraq
- Represented several members of congress and congressional staff in ethics and related criminal investigations, including publicized investigation by House Ethics Committee
- National trade association in state legislative investigation of alleged improper influence peddling by lobbyists
- Major health care insurance company in congressional investigation and hearings on its billing practices
- Officer of major health plan manager in Senate investigation and hearings on alleged fraud and proposed remedial legislation
- Major technology company in investigative hearing on board member surveillance before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
- National railroad company in senate and house investigations related to inspector general function