Wesley Bizzell serves as Assistant General Counsel, Government Affairs for Altria Client Services Inc. (“ALCS”). Mr. Bizzell provides in-house legal counsel on matters relating to the political, legislative, and lobbying activities of Altria Group, Inc., its services companies, including ALCS, and its operating companies, including Philip Morris USA Inc., U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. LLC, John Middleton Co., and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd.
In this role, Mr. Bizzell is responsible for ensuring that Altria and its companies comply with all laws and regulations regarding federal, state, local, and Canadian campaign finance, government ethics, gifts to government officials, lobbying disclosure and reporting, and charitable giving. Overseeing a comprehensive compliance system covering the regulation of government affairs, Mr. Bizzell provides advice and guidance on political law compliance for more than 65 jurisdictions. Mr. Bizzell also supports Altria’s lobbying efforts by providing services related to legislative and regulatory drafting and interpretation. Mr. Bizzell is a member of Altria’s Compliance Leadership Team.
Previously, Mr. Bizzell was an attorney in Winston & Strawn LLP’s Federal Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs Practice Group. His career also includes more than six years on Capitol Hill, where he served as an aide to Arkansas Senators David Pryor and Dale Bumpers and handled matters involving the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Social Security Administration, Department of Education, and Department of Labor. Additionally, he has served in the Office of General Counsel and the Privatization and Special Projects Branch of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Department of Justice, where he focused on a myriad of issues involving privatization and government procurement.
While at Winston & Strawn, Mr. Bizzell provided significant representation on political compliance, government affairs, legislative, and regulatory matters to Fortune 500 companies in the corrections, automotive, banking, pharmaceutical, agricultural, and technology-oriented industries, as well as trade associations, nonprofit organizations, and local and territorial governments. He has served as outside ethics counsel to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, provided legal counsel to the election campaigns of gubernatorial and congressional candidates, represented a corporate client in an enforcement action before the Federal Election Commission, and conducted internal investigations related to corporate political activities.
Mr. Bizzell graduated with a B.A. in justice, magna cum laude, from the American University in Washington, D.C. and received a Master of Social Work with a focus in public policy from the Catholic University of America. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as an editor for the Georgetown Law Journal.
Mr. Bizzell is a frequent author and speaker on political compliance law. He serves on the Publications Committee for the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (“COGEL”), a professional organization of government officials with responsibilities or interests in governmental ethics, elections, campaign finance, and lobby laws, and served on the advisory board for the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s 2011 CLE Expo. Mr. Bizzell also lectures on political compliance law issues at many venues, including the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics’ Corporate Compliance Institute, the COGEL Annual Conference, the American Conference Institute’s National Forum on Corporate Lobbying and Political Activities, and the Practicing Law Institute’s annual Corporate Political Activities conference. Mr. Bizzell’s articles on the topics of political compliance law and lobbying have appeared in Corporate Counsel, Corrections Today, American Jails, the COGEL Guardian, Corrections.Com, and Metropolitan Corporate Counsel. He is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia bars.