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:
CHB Chapters  CHB Chapters Covington & Burling LLP, Handling Investigations of Members of Congress and Congressional Staff: A How-To Guide for Chiefs of Staff (February 28, 2018) - Corporate Political Activities 2018: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and Ethics Laws, Thursday, September 06, 2018
The Foreign Agents Registration Act: A New Wave of Enforcement - Corporate Political Activities 2018: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and Ethics Laws, Thursday, September 06, 2018
Covington & Burling LLP, The Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”): A Guide for the Perplexed (January 11, 2018) - Corporate Political Activities 2018: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and Ethics Laws, Thursday, September 06, 2018
Web Segment  Web Segment Foreign Nationals, Tax-Exempt Organizations, and Independent Expenditures - Corporate Political Activities 2018: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and Ethics Laws, Tuesday, October 09, 2018
Criminal and Civil Enforcement of Election and Ethics Laws - Corporate Political Activities 2018: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and Ethics Laws, Tuesday, October 09, 2018
MP3 Audio  MP3 Audio Criminal and Civil Enforcement of Election and Ethics Laws - Criminal and Civil Enforcement of Election and Ethics Laws, Tuesday, October 09, 2018
Foreign Nationals, Tax-Exempt Organizations, and Independent Expenditures - Foreign Nationals, Tax-Exempt Organizations, and Independent Expenditures, Tuesday, October 09, 2018
MP4 - Mobile Video Seg  MP4 - Mobile Video Seg Criminal and Civil Enforcement of Election and Ethics Laws - Criminal and Civil Enforcement of Election and Ethics Laws, Tuesday, October 09, 2018
Foreign Nationals, Tax-Exempt Organizations, and Independent Expenditures - Foreign Nationals, Tax-Exempt Organizations, and Independent Expenditures, Tuesday, October 09, 2018
On-Demand Web Programs  On-Demand Web Programs Corporate Political Activities 2018: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and Ethics Laws, Friday, October 12, 2018, San Francisco, CA
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