Presenter Bios

Campaign Finance Primer: the Impact of McCutcheon on the States

Kenneth Gross leads Skadden’s Political Law practice and advises clients on matters relating to the regulation of political activity. A nationally renowned authority on campaign law compliance, gift and gratuity rules, lobby registration provisions, and securities laws regulating political activity and municipal securities transactions, Mr. Gross counsels numerous Fortune 500 corporations and political candidates at the state and federal level. As the FEC, Mr. Gross headed the general counsel’s Enforcement Division and supervised the legal staff charged with review of the FEC’s Audit Division. He advises elected officials as well as candidates facing various federal and state races. A frequent featured guest on CNN, Fox News, NPR Radio and other media outlets, Mr. Gross was CNN’s on-air election law analyst during the 2000 Florida election dispute and made daily appearances in covering the election. He also advised NBC’s television show “The West Wing” on election law issues that arose in the show’s scripts.   

Judicial Campaigns

 Justice Thomas R. Phillips is the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. He was appointed Chief Justice in 1998 and re-elected four times until his retirement. During his tenor as Chief Justice, he served as President of the Conference on Chief Justices in 1997-1998, a member of the Federal-State Jurisdiction Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States from1989-1996 and as a member of the American Bar Association Commission on the 21st Century Judiciary from 2002-2003. Chief Justice Philips received his JD from Harvard Law School and his BA from Baylor University. The Baylor Alumni Association has named him as a Distinguished alumnus, and he has also received the Price Daniel Distinguished Public Service Award (2004), the Outstanding Mentor Award (2009-10), the Justice Award (2007), the Henry L. Carircco Judicial Innovation Award (2005), and the Professionalism in Law Award (2004). Mr. Phillips now serves as a partner in the Austin Office of Baker Botts, LLP


 Bradley Smith is one of the nation’s leading authorities on Election Law and Campaign Finance, former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley A. Smith is the Josiah H. Blackmore/Shirley M. Nault Professor of Law at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio and the Founder and Chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics in Alexandria, Virginia. Professor Smith served on Federal Election Commission (FEC) for five years, and was the Commission’s Vice-Chairman in 2003 and Chairman during the presidential election year of 2004. Smith left the Commission in August, 2005, to return to teaching and the practice of law. Professor Smith is a member of the Editorial Board of the Election Law Journal, of the Board of Advisors of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, and of the Board of Advisors of the Institute for Law & Politics at the University of Minnesota Law School. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Federalist Society’s Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group. Professor Smith has also served as an election observer with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and spoken overseas on behalf of the International Republican Institute. A cum laude graduate of both Kalamazoo College and Harvard Law School, Professor Smith has also taught at George Mason University School of Law. His teaching has included Election Law, Comparative ElectionLaw, Administrative Law, Civil Procedure, Law & Economics, and Jurisprudence.


 Justice Penny J. White (fmr.) is the E.E. Overton Distinguished Professor of Law and theDirector of the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Justice White earned her J.D. from the University of Tennessee where she served as Editor in Chief of the Tennessee Law Review and was named to Order of the Coif. She received her LLM. from Georgetown University Law Center where she was an E. Barrett Fellow. Beforebeginning law teaching, White served as a judge in all courts of record in Tennessee, including most recently the Tennessee Supreme Court. At the College of Law, White has received the Harold C. Warner Outstanding TeacherAward; the Yarborough Award for Writing Excellence for her article “Relinquished Responsibilities,” which was published in the November 2009 edition of the Harvard Law Review; the Bass, Berry, and Sims Award for Service to the Bench and Bar; the Bernstein-Ritchie Award for Extraordinary Service to the Legal Clinic; the Carden Award for Scholarship; and the Carden Award for Service to the Institution. In addition to teaching at UT and directing the Center, White has demonstrated a particular interest in continuing legal education. As a judicial educator, White was awarded the National Judicial College’s V. Robert Payant award for teaching excellence in 2009.

Virginia Election War Game

 Jessica R. Amunson (Kaine Attorney) is a Partner in the Election Law and Redistricting Practice Group at Jenner & Block in Washington DC. Ms. Amunson concentrates her practice in appellate and Supreme Court matters. She has significant experience briefing and arguing matters before both federal and state appellate courts and is frequently called on to assist in merits and amicus briefing before the United States Supreme Court. Ms. Amunson also focuses on election law and redistricting, and is actively involved in litigating as well as advising in redistricting matters in a number of states. Ms. Amunson represented candidate Christine Jennings in Jennings v. Election Canvassing Commission, an election contest over the 2006 race in Florida's 13th Congressional District, in which Ms. Jennings pursued the source code and a full forensic examination of the electronic voting machines after they produced more than 18,000 undervotes in one county. Ms. Amunson also recently appeared in an Election Law Program online lecture in a video lecture, "Redistricting Litigation: What Every Judge Needs to Know."

 Stefan C. Passantino (Allen Attorney) is the head of the Political Law Team at McKenna Long & Aldridge where he leads the firm's publication of the Pay-to-Play blog. Washingtonian Magazine recognized Mr. Passantino as one of the "Best Legal Minds in Washington" in the field of Campaign and Election law in December 2011. Mr. Passantino is a regular contributor and commentator for CNN Radio, POLITICO, The Hill, FOX News, Roll Call, The Washington Post, and USA Today, among others, and is the co-author of the Handbook on Corporate Political Activity: Emerging Corporate Governance Issues. Mr. Passantino recently served as National Counsel to the Gingrich presidential campaign and represented former Speaker Newt Gingrich in Virginia's January ballot access litigation, and is currently a guest lecturer on campaign finance for Emory School of Law and the Georgia State University College of Law.

Colorado Election War Game

  Martha M. Tierney (Perlmutter Attorney) is an attorney at Heizer, Paul & Grueskin in Denver. Ms. Tierney’s practice emphasizes dispute resolution through mediation and litigation in state and federal courts, as well as administrative agencies. She specializes in election/political law, employment law, civil rights and complex business litigation. Ms. Tierney currently acts as counsel for the Colorado Democratic Party. She is a member of the Common Cause National Governing Board and a member of the Colorado Common Cause Board of Directors. She co-chairs the Colorado Lawyers Committee’s Election Task Force and is a member of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Best Practices & Vision Commission. Ms. Tierney is a cooperating attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union and a member of the Faculty of Federal Advocates.


Mario D. Nicolais (Coors Attorney) is an attorney at the Hackstaff Law Group in Denver. Mr. Nicolais is a leading expert in the fields of Election Law and Campaign Finance. In addition to advising many multi-million dollar campaigns on both the state and federal level, he has successfully litigated and argued cases before courts ranging from the Denver District Court to the Colorado Supreme Court. Most notably, Mr. Nicolais argued and won a unanimous opinion from the Colorado Supreme Court in the 2011 case Colorado Ethics Watch v Senate Majority Fund. He frequently speaks on these issues before groups across the state and as a regular media contributor. Mr. Nicolais also practices in the firm’s Energy, Real Estate, and Nonprofit groups. Prior to joining Hackstaff Gessler, Mr. Nicolais served as a Senior Research Analyst for the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee, the Political Director for the 2004 Bob Schaffer for US Senate campaign and a former general consultant for Coffman for Treasurer 2002. Mr. Nicolais also has previous experience working for a tax negotiation firm.

Wisconsin Election War Game

James R. Troupis (Kleinman Attorney) For over three decades, Mr. Troupis has practiced law at all levels of the federal court system, as well as the state courts of Wisconsin and Illinois. Mr. Troupis' practice focuses on general civil litigation and appellate work. He has extensive trial experience, including litigating campaign finance and redistricting cases. In addition to acting as lead Wisconsin counsel for Romney for President and lead Wisconsin litigation counsel for the Bush/Cheney Presidential campaigns (including participating in the 2000 Florida recount), he has acted as counsel to the Speaker of the Assembly and Majority Leader of the State Senate and has participated in numerous legislative recounts. During the 2011 State Supreme Court race, Mr. Troupis represented Justice Dave Prosser as lead councel during the statwide recount. He has published widely and served as a keynote speaker on election law issues, including accountability and voter access. He served, as well, on the Special Joint Legislative Committee on Election Law Review.


Matthew W. O'Neill (County Municipal Clerks' Attorney) Matt O'Neill regularly counsels clients on both sides of the aisle in campaign and election-related matters. Mr. O'Neill was part of the team that successfully obtained reversal of a criminal conviction of a former Republican Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly. In the same election cycle, he successfully represented the Democratic Party in a lawsuit involving proposed "cross checks" that could have removed thousands of qualified voters from the poll lists. In another case, he represented a Native American Tribe challenging a redistricting plan as violating the Voting Rights Act. Over the past three Presidential election cycles, Mr. O'Neill has trained over two thousand lawyers to act as observers in polling places throughout the state. He has testified before the United States Congress, the Wisconsin Senate, and the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board on proposed reforms to federal and state election laws.

A View from the Trenches

 Robert Bauer is currently White House Counsel. Formerly, Mr. Bauer was a partner at Perkins Coie in Washington, D.C. where he was the chair of the firm’s political law group. Mr. Bauer was general counsel to Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He is the author of several books and articles on election law and ran a popular blog that focuses on campaign finance and other election law issues

 Benjamin Ginsberg is currently a partner at Patton Boggs in Washington, D.C. and represents political parties, campaigns, candidates, and other entities involved in the political process. He is currently representing Senator Norm Coleman and his campaign in the ongoing Minnesota recount. Mr. Ginsberg has served as counsel to both the 2000 and 2004 Bush-Cheney presidential campaigns, playing a central role in the 2000 Florida recount. He has also represented the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican Governors Association.

Redistricting Litigation: What Every Judge Should Know

 Jessica Amunson is an associate at Washington D.C. based firm Jenner & Block where she is a member of the Election Law and Redistricting Practices. She has briefed matters before the U.S. Supreme Court involving partisan gerrymandering, voter identification requirements and National Voter Registration Act.



 J. Gerald Hebert is Executive Director and Director of Litigation at the Campaign Legal Center. Over the last three decades, he has served as legal counsel for parties and amici curiae in numerous redistricting lawsuits, including several cases decided in the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Hebert is a former adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center where he taught courses on voting rights, election law, and campaign finance regulation.



 Trevor Potter is a member in Caplin & Drysdale’s Washington, D.C. office, where he leads the firm’s Political Activity Law Practice. He is one of the country’s best-known and most experienced campaign and election lawyers, and a former Commissioner and Chairman of the Federal Election Commission. Mr. Potter served as John McCain’s General Counsel for his 2000 and 2008 campaigns, and is founding President and General Counsel of the Campaign Legal Center.



 John Hardin Young is counsel to the Washington, DC law firm of Sandler, Reiff & Young. He is recognized as one of the nation’s leading electoral recount and dispute resolution lawyers. Mr. Young is an Adjunct Professor at William & Mary Law, and member of the Advisory Committee to the William & Mary Election Law Program.


Election Law Controversies: The Basics of Election Litigation

 Richard L. Hasen is the William H. Hannon Distinguished Professor of Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. He holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D., M.A. and Ph.D. (Political Science) from the University of California at Los Angeles. After law school, Hasen clerked for the Honorable David R. Thompson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and then worked as a civil appellate lawyer. From 1994-1997, Hasen taught at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. He joined Loyola's faculty in 1997 as a visiting professor and became a member of the full-time faculty in fall 1998. In 2005, he was named the William H. Hannon Distinguished Professor of Law. Hasen is a nationally-recognized expert in election law and campaign finance regulation, is co-author of a leading casebook on election law and co-editor of the quarterly peer-reviewed publication, Election Law Journal. He is the author of more than three dozen articles on election law issues. In 2002, Hasen was named one of the 20 top lawyers in California under age 40 by the Los Angeles (and San Francisco) Daily Journal and one of the top 100 lawyers in California in 2005. Hasen also writes the widely read "Election law blog." His opeds and commentaries have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Slate. His election law book, “The Supreme Court and Election Law: Judging Equality from Baker v. Carr to Bush v. Gore,” was published by NYU Press in 2003.

 Dr. Aviel D. Rubin is Professor of Computer Science and Technical Director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Professor Rubin directs the NSF-funded ACCURATE center for correct, usable, reliable, auditable and transparent elections. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Rubin was a research scientist at AT&T Labs. He is also a co-founder of Independent Security Evaluators, a security consulting firm. Rubin has testified before the U.S. House and Senate on multiple occasions, and he is author of several books including Brave New Ballot (Random House, 2006) Firewalls and Internet Security, second edition (with Bill Cheswick and Steve Bellovin, Addison Wesley, 2003), White-Hat Security Arsenal (Addison Wesley, 2001), and Web Security Sourcebook (with Dan Geer and Marcus Ranum, John Wiley & Sons, 1997). He is Associate Editor of ACM Transactions on Internet Technology, Associate Editor of IEEE Security & Privacy, and an Advisory Board member of Springer's Information Security and Cryptography Book Series. In January, 2004 Baltimore Magazine named Rubin a Baltimorean of the Year for his work in safeguarding the integrity of our election process, and he is also the recipient of the 2004 Electronic Frontiers Foundation Pioneer Award. Rubin has a B.S, ('89), M.S.E ('91), and Ph.D. ('94) from the University of Michigan.

 Edward B. Foley, Robert M. Duncan/Jones Day Designated Professor of Law at Moritz, is the Director of Election Law @ Moritz. One of the nation’s preeminent experts on election law, Professor Foley teaches and writes in all areas of this field, including campaign finance regulation. His current work focuses on the less-developed law of voting administration: provisional voting, registration rules and procedures, HAVA, recounts and judicially disputed elections. He has written a major article on “The Future of Bush v. Gore? (PDF 493kb) ,” (68 Ohio St. L. J. 925) as well as follow-up, “Refining the Bush v. Gore Taxonomy (PDF 80kb)” (68 Ohio St. L. J. 1035), both part of symposium sponsored by EL@M and the Ohio State Law Journal. His examination of the future significance of that famous precedent has led him to complete for the Election Law Journal an analysis of the Indiana voter identification case in the Supreme Court. His earlier article, The Analysis and Mitigation of Election Errors: Theory, Practice, Policy (PDF 180kb)(18 Stan. Law & Policy Review 350) sets the stage for a long-term study of post-voting disputes. His commentary on election law can be found at Free & Fair.