Jason D. Kaune

Office: San Francisco Bay Area
2350 Kerner Boulevard
Suite 250
San Rafael, CA 94901

Jason Kaune leads the firm’s political law section. He practices political law and government ethics, including the election, lobbying disclosure, conflict of interest, gift and gratuity, and campaign finance laws of federal, state and local governments. He additionally has administrative oversight of the firm’s San Francisco Bay Area office.

Mr. Kaune advises corporations, advocacy groups, individuals, non-profit organizations and governments on the increasingly complex regulation of the political intersection of the public and private sectors in the United States. For nearly twenty years, he has pioneered the firm’s national compliance practice, building client-oriented resources and systems with his political law colleagues that have served as benchmarks in the regulated community. As a recognized expert on corporate political compliance, his clients include the nation’s largest technology, pharmaceutical, energy, telecommunications, media, publishing, investment and consumer product companies.

He is one of the leading political attorneys in California, advising individuals, entities and government agencies on complex election law and conflict of interest matters. He serves as counsel and treasurer political action committees, advocacy groups, social welfare organizations, independent expenditure committees and ballot measures on topics ranging from land use restrictions to government reform.

He represents and advises clients in regard to their dealings with state and local government ethics agencies across the country, with local counsel as necessary. His expertise includes “pay to play” restrictions on government contractors and the financial industry, the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), California’s Political Reform Act (PRA), and similar laws at every level of government.

He is a past president of the California Political Attorneys Association and member of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws and other professional associations. He currently serves on the Advisory Commission of the Standing Committee on Election law for the American Bar Association.  He also serves as the President and elected trustee of the Orinda Unified School District, a k-8 school district in the Bay Area.

Before joining Nielsen Merksamer, Mr. Kaune worked in the private and non-profit sectors, as an assistant director of the Association of Yale Alumni, on a presidential campaign, and as an extern for a U.S. Federal District Court Judge.  He earned a master in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

  • General counsel and professional treasurer for advocacy organizations, political action committees and social welfare organizations.
  • Outside counsel to corporations and trade associations in regard to campaign finance, lobby disclosure and government ethics compliance.
  • Expert and advisor on conflicts of interests involving government officials, contractors and regulated entities.
  • Since 2000, Mr. Kaune has been a co-author and faculty for the Practising Law Institute's course on "Corporate Political Activities," including chapters on an Overview of Federal Campaign Finance: Contribution and Expenditure Limitations; State Campaign Finance Laws; Pay-to-Play Laws: An Introduction and Overview; State Lobby and Gift Laws; and Political Tax Considerations.
  • Exporting Ethics: Lessons from Russia’s Attempt to Regulate Federal Lobbying, 20 Hastings Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 815
  • The Future of Public Contracting in California: Alternatives to Proposition 224, Hastings Public Law Research Institute
  • Office of the White House Counsel: Past, Present and Future, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  • Frequently presents on matters of political law before client groups, trade associations and legal education seminars.
  • Co-authors an annual national compendium of campaign finance law and litigation developments for the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) on behalf of the preeminent organization of government ethics administrators.
  • Provided commentary for KTVU (Fox) on election law issues and expert commentary on political matters.