FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Robert K. Kelner

Robert K. Kelner

Covington & Burling LLP

Washington, DC, USA


Robert Kelner is Chairman of Covington & Burling’s Election and Political Law Practice Group, a 15-lawyer group that advises corporate and political clients on campaign finance, lobbying compliance, and government ethics matters.  As a partner in Covington’s White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Group, he also defends corporate and individual clients in Department of Justice investigations and congressional investigations related to political activity.  Mr. Kelner is one of the leading authorities in the country on the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”), and currently represents several high-profile clients in FARA investigation matters, including Lt. General Michael T. Flynn (Retired).

Mr. Kelner’s clients include many of the largest global corporations and major trade associations, as well as several of the top hedge funds, banks, and other financial institutions in the country.  He advises clients across the life sciences, financial services, manufacturing, technology, and consumer products industries.  He frequently practices before the Federal Election Commission, House and Senate Ethics Committees, Department of Justice Public Integrity Section, and numerous state and local campaign finance and lobbying disclosure agencies.  In 2017, he was named a national “Litigator of the Week” by the American Lawyer, in connection with his representation of a client in a FARA investigation, and he is ranked in “Tier 1” among national political lawyers by Chambers USA.

Mr. Kelner is Chairman of Covington’s Professional Responsibility Committee and serves as the firm’s General Counsel for legal ethics.  He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown Law School, where he teaches legal ethics.  Prior to his legal career, he was a speechwriter for former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp, and a crisis communications advisor at the Sawyer/Miller Group political consulting firm.

Mr. Kelner graduated from Princeton University with high honors.  He received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, and served as Executive Editor of the Virginia Law Review.  He clerked for Judge José Cabranes on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Robert K. Kelner is associated with the following items:
Journal Chapter  Journal Chapter The Foreign Agents Registration Act: A New Wave of Enforcement - PLI Current: The Journal of PLI Press, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Summer 2018), Monday, August 06, 2018
Live Seminar  Live Seminar Corporate Political Activities 2018: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and Ethics Laws, Thursday, September 06, 2018, Washington, DC
Corporate Political Activities 2018: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and Ethics Laws, Thursday, October 04, 2018, San Francisco, CA
Live Webcast  Live Webcast Corporate Political Activities 2018: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and, Thursday, October 04, 2018, San Francisco, CA
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