Marc Erik Elias (born February 1, 1969) is an American attorney. He is a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie LLP and head of its Political Law practice. He was the general counsel for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign.
Early life and education
Born to a Jewish family, Elias received a bachelor's degree from Hamilton College in 1990. In 1993, Elias received both a master's degree in political science from Duke University and a law degree from Duke University School of Law.
Elias is the head of the Political Law practice at Perkins Coie, a large Seattle-based law firm with many political clients. As such he represents the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Democratic Governors Association, and many Democratic members of Congress. He has represented the leadership of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. He was the attorney of record for the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry and the 2016 campaign of Hillary Clinton.
He served as lead counsel for Senator Al Franken in the 2008 Minnesota Senate election recount and contest, the largest recount and contest in American history. Elias has testified before committees in both houses of Congress and before the Federal Election Commission on campaign finance. Elias has worked on voting rights and redistricting lawsuits in Virginia, Ohio, Nevada, Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin, Texas, Florida and North Carolina.
In 2010, Elias sought advisory opinions from the Federal Election Commission declaring that certain Google and Facebook advertisements were covered by the "small items" and "impracticable" exemptions of the law that otherwise requires a political advertisement to include a disclaimer revealing who paid for it. The commission granted Google's request in a divided vote, and deadlocked on Facebook's request. According to The New York Times, "Facebook nonetheless proceeded as if it was exempt from the disclaimer requirement".
In April 2015 Hillary Clinton engaged Elias as attorney of record for her 2016 presidential campaign. According to The Washington Post, in April 2016, Elias hired Fusion GPS on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign to complete the opposition research that resulted in the Donald Trump–Russia dossier. During the campaign, the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid Perkins Coie $5.6 million and $3.6 million respectively. On October 24, 2017, Perkins Coie released Fusion GPS from its client confidentiality obligation.
- "Hillary Clinton Quietly Hires Jewish Campaign Finance Lawyer". Jewish Political News and Updates. via Wayback Machine. March 5, 2015. Archived from the original on 20 April 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- "Perkins Coie Homepage". Retrieved April 3, 2015.
- "Political Parties, Campaigns and Committees". Perkins Coie. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- Haberman, Maggie (March 4, 2015). "Clinton Hires Campaign Lawyer Ahead of Likely Run". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
- Weiner, Jay (2010). "This Is Not Florida: How Al Franken Won the Minnesota Senate Recount". University of Minnesota Press. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
- "Arena Profile: Marc Elias". Politico. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
- Trygstad, Kyle (October 31, 2014). "Senate Democrats' Super Lawyer Preps for Overtime". Roll Call. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
- "Letter from Marc Elias to the Federal Elections Commission on behalf of Google (August 5, 2010)" (PDF). Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "Letter from Marc Elias to the Federal Election Commission on behalf of Facebook (April 26, 2011)" (PDF). Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- Vogel, Kenneth P.; Kang, Cecilia (20 October 2017). "Senators Demand Online Ad Disclosures as Tech Lobby Mobilizes". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
- Entous, Adam; Barrett, Devlin; Helderman, Rosalind S. (25 October 2017). "Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier". The Washington Post. p. A1. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
- "Advisors". Let America Vote. Retrieved May 1, 2018.