Scott E. Thomas

Public Policy & Political Law

1825 Eye Street NW Washington, DC 20006-5403
T: (202) 420-2601


Partner Scott Thomas joined Dickstein Shapiro in 2006, and is the leader of the Public Policy & Political Law Practice. A former Federal Election Commission (FEC) Chairman, Scott focuses his political law practice on campaign finance, ethics, lobbying, and elections law. His extensive background in the area of political law is a valuable resource in providing guidance and assurance to clients who need to interact with government officials or want to engage politically.


With more than 30 years of experience in this field, he assesses current compliance issues and suggests best practices to ensure adherence to the rules. Given the ever-changing law and its interpretations by regulatory bodies, he provides up-to-date advice that enables businesses, associations, PACs, and others to work successfully with government representatives at the federal, state, or local level.


Prior to joining Dickstein Shapiro, Scott served as an FEC Commissioner from 1986 to 2006. He was appointed to the FEC for three consecutive terms by Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. He served as Chairman in 1987, 1993, 1999, and 2005.

From 1983 to 1986, Scott served as Executive Assistant to former FEC Commissioner Tom Harris, and from 1980 to 1983 as an FEC Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement. He began his legal career as a staff attorney with the FEC in 1977.

Scott also has general experience in areas of election law other than campaign finance, stemming from the FEC’s Office of Election Administration and his work with election officials here and abroad. Additionally, his involvement with the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws and various governmental bodies over the years has provided him with a breadth of knowledge on ethics and lobbying rules.


Scott has served on the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Election Law as well as the Elections Committee of the ABA’s Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice.

Full Biography

Representative Experience

  • Assist the Voter Participation Center and Women’s Voices / Women Vote Action Fund to stay informed of election laws in all 50 states, which is critical in light of constant changes in laws affecting registration and voting by minorities, young people, and unmarried people. 

  • Advised Peabody Energy on several occasions whether particular activities fit lobbying definitions under federal tax law or Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA).

  • Provided advice to the Environmental Defense Fund and Environmental Defense Action Fund on application of federal tax rules, federal lobbying disclosure rules, and national and international lobbying disclosure rules related to efforts to influence decision-making at the European Parliament and European Commission.

  • Assisted Lorillard Tobacco Co. with a major evening event at the presidential nominating convention in Charlotte, NC. This required extensive research regarding applicable ethics rules applicable to invited governmental officials, campaign finance rules relating to in-kind services provided to party convention committee or host-city convention committee, and tax rules related to arranging sponsorship of event in name of 501(c)(3) charity).  

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News and Views

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Honors and Awards

  • Washington DC Super Lawyers

  • 2015 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business

  • Best Lawyers in America

  • Washington DC Super Lawyers

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business

  • Washingtonian Top Lawyers

  • The Best Lawyers in America

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business

  • The Best Lawyers in America

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business

  • Washingtonian Stars of the Bar 2011

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business

  • Washingtonian's Top Lawyers

  • Washingtonian's Top Lawyers

  • Selected as Vice-Chair of Elections Committee, ABA Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court