Areas of Practice
Education
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., 2003, Editor-in-Chief Journal of Constitutional Law, Winner and Best Oralist, Edwin R. Keedy Cup Moot Court Competition, 2003
  • Wharton School of Business, Certificate of Business and Public Policy, 2003
  • University of Illinois, B.A., 2000
Bar & Court Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
  • US District Court, District of Columbia
  • US District Court, Maryland
  • US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Jason Abel

Of Counsel
1330 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036
TEL: +1 202 429 6297
FAX: +1 202 429 3902

Jason Abel advises trade associations, financial services, consumer product, and technology companies, among others, on a range of government affairs, campaign finance, and political law issues, and leads Steptoe's political law and campaign finance practice.  From 2009 -2011, he served as chief counsel for Chairman Sen. Schumer on the US Senate Committee on Rules & Administration and, for two years prior, as counsel for Sen. Schumer in his personal office.

As counsel to Sen. Schumer, Mr. Abel managed a varied portfolio which involved the issues of many Senate committees, including Judiciary, Banking and Commerce.  Mr. Abel was a part of the team that investigated the firing of US attorneys by the Department of Justice (DOJ), and led a successful effort to persuade the DOJ to reverse course and extend benefits to the family members of fallen firefighters and auxiliary police officers. 

As chief counsel of the Senate Committee on Rules & Administration, Mr. Abel developed in-depth knowledge of Senate rules and procedures and oversaw numerous legislative, oversight, and nomination hearings.  He worked with Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle to craft and execute strategy for several successful pieces of bipartisan legislation, most recently the bipartisan Senate leadership group that streamlined the Senate confirmation process and reformed the presidential appointment process.  Mr. Abel also led the strategic development and passage of the bipartisan Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE) Act of 2009.

Recognized by Chambers USA in the political law arena, Mr. Abel counsels corporations, trade associations, individuals and nonprofits on the complex intersection of law and political activity.  He has significant experience working on complicated questions arising under the House and Senate Ethics and Gift Rules, the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA), the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), and the various statutory provisions and rules surrounding conflict of interest and “revolving door” employment. 

His federal campaign finance practice includes PAC formation and compliance, including day-to-day management of complex trade association PACs.  Mr. Abel also advises on the political activity limits placed on nonprofit entities.  He has a keen eye to any Congressional, state, or local legislative activity related to campaign finance restrictions, having been the lead Senate aide for campaign finance issues including the DISCLOSE Act, the Democratic response to the Supreme Court’s opinion in Citizens United v. FEC

As part of his pay-to-play counseling, Mr. Abel advises financial services firms on the unique impact of federal law on their political activities and business lines.  His clients includes investment advisers, who are covered by the Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 206-4(5); municipal securities dealers and municipal advisors, covered by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board Rule G-37; swap dealers, covered by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission Rule 23.451; and third party entities, who will soon be covered by a FINRA Rule. 

Mr. Abel also counsels government contractors on state and local pay-to-play and campaign finance regimes, lobbying restrictions, gift and entertainment rules.  He is well-versed in the compliance requirements for many state and local jurisdictions and assists clients with their filing and disclosure obligations. 

He has also worked with clients to assess the impact of the STOCK Act and develop appropriate internal policies in light of the scrutiny placed on political intelligence activities.

Mr. Abel also has extensive experience in voter protection and voting rights.  In 2008, he led the Democratic coordinated campaign voter protection operations for the state of Mississippi.  Mr. Abel was part of the first "election protection" poll monitoring in 2001 and, most recently, volunteered his time as a boiler room hotline attorney for the successful Doug Jones Senate campaign in the Alabama 2017 special election.

Mr. Abel also is a professorial lecturer in law at George Washington University Law School.

Noteworthy

  • Chambers USA, Government: Political Law (Nationwide), 2015-2017
  • "Top Lobbyists," The Hill, 2016-2017
  • Washingtonian Magazine's "Best Lawyers" in Campaign and Election Law, 2017
  • "DC Rising Star," The National Law Journal, 2015
  • Washington's 2015 Trending "40 Lawyers Under 40," Legal Bisnow, 2015
  • "The Hill People," National Journal, 2011

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Professional Affiliations

  • Chair, Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity Committee of the Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice, American Bar Association
  • Compliance Committee Director, Online Programming Subcommittee Chair, Government Affairs Practice Committee of the Business Law Section, American Bar Association
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation