For-profit

Compass Legal Group (CLG)

Website:

compasslegal.org/

Location:

Washingon, DC

Type:

Law Firm

Launched by:

Conservative Partnership Institute 1

References

  1. “Building a Winning Conservative Culture.” Conservative Partnership Institute. 2022 Annual Report. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://www.cpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/2022-CPI-AnnualReport-.pdf
Formation:

2020 1

References

  1. “Building a Winning Conservative Culture.” Conservative Partnership Institute. 2022 Annual Report. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://www.cpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/2022-CPI-AnnualReport-.pdf

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

Compass Legal Group (CLG) is a Washington D.C.-based law firm launched by the right-of-center advocacy group Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI). 1

The firm focuses on campaign finance, government ethics, and nonprofit tax and governance matters and includes lawyers who previously held positions in the White House, Congress, and the Federal Election Commission. 2

Background

The Compass Legal Group is a Washington D.C.-based law firm that focuses on clients who are public officials and political candidates and specializes in areas such as nonprofit organizations, campaign finance, government ethics, and nonprofit tax and governance matters. 3

It is a for-profit firm launched in 2020 by the Conservative Partnership Institute, a right-of-center advocacy group that has also been an incubator for other organizations. 4 5

The firm has lawyers who previously worked in legal positions in the White House, Congress, and the Federal Election Commission. 6

IRS Complaint

Left-leaning group Campaign for Accountability filed an IRS complaint against the Conservative Partnership Institute claiming it provided substantial resources to Compass Legal Group that primarily works for Republicans. The complaint was based on research by the left-wing group Accountable.US. 7

The complaint says the activities of the CPI and CLG “appear particularly egregious because CLG specifically holds itself out as a law firm that advises public officials, candidates, nonprofit organizations and others regarding campaign finance, government ethics, and nonprofit tax and governance,” but may be in what the group called a “scheme to push the envelope on political campaign activity by an affiliate of a Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization beyond the breaking point.” 8

The Campaign for Accountability asserted that from October 2021 to early 2024, the CLG collected about $700,000 from Republican federal campaigns and political committees, including over $250,000 from former President Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign. 9

Notable Clients

During the first fundraising quarter of 2023, the Donald Trump 2024 presidential campaign reportedly paid $75,000 to Compass Legal Group for advice on legal matters in the campaign. 10

In December 2023, then-Republican Party of Florida Chairman Christian Ziegler handed out a letter from the Compass Legal Group stating that a meeting assembled by the Florida Republican Party to remove him from leadership after he faced allegations of sexual misconduct was not legally called and that any decisions would not be legally binding. 11

Staff

Scott Gast is chief counsel of Compass Legal Group. He worked for in the Trump administration’s White House Counsel’s Office, where he eventually held the title of deputy counsel to the President. He was previously an investigative counsel at the Office of Congressional Ethics, helping to investigate members of Congress and congressional staff for alleged misconduct. Before working in government, Gast worked for the Washington, D.C. law firm Covington and Burling. 12

William M. Klimon is senior counsel of the Compass Legal Group. He has advised more than 700 nonprofit organizations. He previously worked for the Washington, D.C. law firm of Caplin & Drysdale. He if a former chairman of the American Bar Association’s Nonprofit Organizations Committee from 2018 to 2020. Klimon served in the U.S. Army from 1987 to 1990. 13

Cameron Seward is counsel for CLG. He previously worked for the Heritage Foundation as chief of staff to then-Heritage Foundation president and former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC). Seward was the director in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement at the United States Trade Representative’s Office during the Trump administration. He is a former general counsel and director of operations at the Conservative Partnership Institute. 14

Patrick Sternal is counsel for the firm. He is a former tax law specialist in the Internal Revenue Service’s Office of Tax Exempt and Government Entities, Rulings and Agreements. He was an attorney advisor at the IRS Office of Chief Counsel, Exempt Organizations. Prior to working for the IRS, he practiced law in Los Angeles, California. 15

References

  1. “Building a Winning Conservative Culture.” Conservative Partnership Institute. 2022 Annual Report. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://www.cpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/2022-CPI-AnnualReport-.pdf
  2.  Compass Legal Group. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://compasslegal.org/
  3. “Compass Legal Group Inc.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://www.linkedin.com/company/compass-legal-group-inc/
  4. Draper, Robert. “A Nerve Center for the Right Wing Rises in Washington.” New York Times. February 20, 2024. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/20/us/politics/trump-conservative-partnership-institute.html
  5. “Building a Winning Conservative Culture.” Conservative Partnership Institute. 2022 Annual Report. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://www.cpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/2022-CPI-AnnualReport-.pdf
  6. Compass Legal Group. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://compasslegal.org/
  7.  Press Release. “New Reporting Exposes Conservative Partnership Institute’s Potential Abuse of Nonprofit Status.” Accouble.US. February 20, 2024. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://accountable.us/new-reporting-exposes-conservative-partnership-institutes-potential-abuse-of-nonprofit-status/
  8. Press Release. “New Reporting Exposes Conservative Partnership Institute’s Potential Abuse of Nonprofit Status.” Accouble.US. February 20, 2024. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://accountable.us/new-reporting-exposes-conservative-partnership-institutes-potential-abuse-of-nonprofit-status/
  9. Press Release. “Campaign for Accountability Asks IRS to Investigate Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI) for Impermissible Political Activity.” February 20, 2024. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://campaignforaccountability.org/campaign-for-accountability-asks-irs-to-investigate-conservative-partnership-institute-cpi-for-impermissible-political-activity/
  10. Piper, Jessica. “Trump’s fundraising was lagging. Then he said an indictment was imminent.” Politico. April 15, 2023. Accessed June 21, 2024. https://www.politico.com/news/2023/04/15/trumps-fundraising-was-lagging-then-he-said-an-indictment-was-imminent-00092211
  11. Leonard, Kimberly. “‘You can’t morally lead’: Florida Republicans strip party chair of power.” Politico. December 17, 2023. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://www.politico.com/news/2023/12/17/florida-republicans-leader-ouster-00132209
  12. “Staff.” Compass Legal Group. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://compasslegal.org/staff/
  13. “Staff.” Compass Legal Group. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://compasslegal.org/staff/
  14. “Staff.” Compass Legal Group. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://compasslegal.org/staff/
  15. “Staff.” Compass Legal Group. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://compasslegal.org/staff/
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Compass Legal Group (CLG)

300 Independence Ave. SE
Washingon, DC 20003