Lee served as Chairman and Commissioner of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), where he successfully led the rulemaking to conform the agency's regulations to the Supreme Court's Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions and championed free speech on the Internet and free press rights. He previously had served as legal counsel and policy advisor to the Governor of Virginia and Attorney General of Virginia, associate general counsel of the University of Virginia, and general counsel to numerous political organizations. His experience covers a broad range of policy-oriented subjects, including federal and state campaign finance and ethics laws, First Amendment rights of political speech and association, political action on the Internet, taxation of the Internet, interstate regulation, and academic freedom. He has extensive experience in all aspects of election administration, having litigated state, local and congressional recounts, election contests, ballot access, voting rights, late poll openings, and delegate credentials.
He has been named a "Top Campaign & Elections Lawyer" by Washingtonian magazine. The Washington Examiner called Lee “a leading voice among conservative regulators in Washington” (2016) and “a tireless voice for First Amendment rights on the Internet” (2018); the Richmond Times-Dispatch dubbed him a “free-speech champion” (2018); The Hill labeled him “a happy warrior for the First Amendment” (2018); and the Washington Post called him a “sharp policy wonk” (1999). He is a frequent lecturer at law schools, universities, civic organizations, and continuing legal education programs. He has authored numerous articles on election law and a chapter on regulation of political speech on the Internet in Law and Election Politics: The Rules of the Game (Routledge 2013), and his writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Examiner, Washington Times, Politico and other publications. He has served on the boards of several educational, cultural, and political non-profit organizations.
- Advises corporations, media entities, non-profit organizations, and political clients on compliance with restrictions on international political participation, federal and state campaign finance laws, Internal Revenue Service rules, voting rights, pay-to-play rules, ethics and lobbying regulations, and represents their interests before administrative agencies and in investigations.
- Litigates a broad range of policy-oriented civil matters, including First Amendment rights of political participation, election administration disputes, and Section 1983 claims asserting Constitutional rights.
- Consults clients on public policy solutions to complex industry regulatory challenges at the federal level as well as state and multi-state levels.
- Chairman (2014), Vice Chairman (2013), and Commissioner (2013-2018), Federal Election Commission
- General Counsel, Republican Party of Virginia (2009-2013)
- Deputy Counselor and Deputy Policy Director, Office of the Governor of Virginia (1998-2002)
- Chief of Staff to the Chairman, Congressional Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce (1999-2000)
- Counsel to the Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General of Virginia (1997)
- Special Assistant Attorney General & Associate General Counsel, University of Virginia (1995-1996)
- The Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL)
- Public Affairs Council (PAC)
- Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA)
- Member, Board of Governors (2018-Present)
- State Government Affairs Council (SGAC)
- Named the "Republican Lawyer of the Year" by the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) (2019)
- Named one of DC's "Super Lawyers" for Legislative & Governmental Affairs (2013, 2019-2020) by Super Lawyers magazine
- Named one of "Washington's Top Lawyers" (2018) by Washingtonian magazine
J.D., University of Virginia School of Law
B.A., with highest distinction, University of Virginia
Articles Editor, U.Va. Journal of Law and Politics
Bar and Court Memberships
- District of Columbia Bar
- Virginia Bar
- Supreme Court of the United States
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the First and Fourth Circuits
- U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia, Eastern District of Virginia, and Western District of Virginia
- Supreme Court of Virginia
Related News & Insights
- EventThe Supreme Court & The Electoral CollegeAmerican Legislative Exchange CouncilJuly 16, 2020
- NewsletterSupreme Court Rules in Favor of States’ Authority Over Presidential Electors Through the Party System in “Faithless Elector” CasesElection Law NewsJuly 2020
- NewsletterFederal Appeals Court Upholds FEC Debate Regulation: 15% Polling Threshold is LawfulElection Law NewsJuly 2020
- NewsletterFEC Changes: One Commissioner Arrives, One Leaves, Quorum LostElection Law NewsJuly 2020