Political activity and lobbying have become not only full time, but also highly regulated. That also means that election campaigns as well as lobbying activities are getting under way for the next election cycle.
To talk about the demands and challenges of advising companies on political law, Jan speaks with Wesley Bizzell, a lawyer who has spent over 20 years specializing in political law, including at one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, Altria, which is politically active and lobbies both congress and state legislatures. They discuss the corporate compliance issues unique to a tobacco company and its approach to their PAC strategy.
Wes is also the immediate past president of the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association and speaks to the protection and lobbying of gay rights and to the role of corporate America in social, cultural and political issues.
About Wesley Bizzell
Wesley Bizzell serves as Senior Assistant General Counsel, Governmental and External Affairs, and Managing Director of Political Law & Ethics Programs for Altria Client Services. Previously, he was with Winston & Strawn. His career also includes more than six years on Capitol Hill, where he served as an aide to Arkansas Senators David Pryor and Dale Bumpers.
Wesley is an authority on political compliance law and is active in the compliance legal community. He chairs the Conference Board’s Committee on Corporate Political Spending, a committee of leading American corporations dedicated to accountability, education, and engagement on issues of corporate political activity. In addition, he is a longtime faculty member for the Practicing Law Institute’s annual Corporate Political Activities conference. He served as co-chair of the Conference Committee for the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (“COGEL”), a professional organization of government officials with responsibilities or interests in governmental ethics, elections, campaign finance, and lobby laws, and he currently serves on COGEL’s board. He received the COGEL Award, for making a “demonstrable and positive contribution to the fields of campaign finance, ethics, elections, lobbying and freedom of information over a significant period of time.”
Wesley is extremely active in promoting diversity and inclusion within the legal and corporate communities and is a frequent speaker on the topic. He is a founding member and serves as the Incoming Chair of Altria’s LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group and is currently the immediate past president of the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association.
He received his B.A. from the American University, his master's degree from the Catholic University of America, and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as an editor for the Georgetown Law Journal.