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  • J.D., Vanderbilt Law School, 2008
  • B.A., The University of Utah, 2005, cum laude

Bar and Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Matthew T. Sanderson

Member, Washington, D.C.
(202) 862-5046 | v-card | PDF

Matthew T. Sanderson is a co-leader of the Political Law Group and a Member in the Exempt Organizations Group.

Mr. Sanderson has been recognized repeatedly in Super Lawyers and Chambers USA, where clients noted that he "is extremely thorough, looks at all the angles, and gives the best advice you can get in the market."


Mr. Sanderson counsels corporations, political committees, lobbying firms, law firms, candidates, and advocacy groups comply with the complex federal, state, and local laws that govern political activity, including campaign finance, "pay-to-play," government ethics, and lobbying disclosure regulations. Mr. Sanderson also advises clients on the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and defends parties before the Department of Justice and Congress that face FARA-related inquiries.


Mr. Sanderson has served as counsel to Senator John McCain, Senator Mitt Romney, Senator Rand Paul, and Governor Rick Perry, among other candidates for national office. He was a legal consultant for Netflix’s hit series House of Cards and received the Peabody Award, alongside Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report team, for efforts related to the “Colbert Super PAC.” Mr. Sanderson was also a founder of PlayoffPAC, which was nominated for Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year award for its work in bringing down college football's prior post-season system, the Bowl Championship Series.

Mr. Sanderson is the co-editor of Thomson Reuters’ legal treatise on political law, a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Election Law, a member of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and an Adjunct Faculty Member at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he teaches an advanced course on campaign finance regulation. He serves as editor of, a comprehensive online resource of information about the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Mr. Sanderson is frequently quoted on political matters in national media outlets, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Associated Press. He is also a Trustee for the American Council of Young Political Leaders, a nonprofit that connects rising political leaders in the U.S. and around the world.

Mr. Sanderson is a graduate of the University of Utah and Vanderbilt University Law School, where he was a Chancellor's Scholar. He speaks Mandarin and has four children with his wife, Emily.

Awards & Rankings

  • Chambers USA, 2014-Present
  • Super Lawyers, Rising Star, Washington, D.C., 2013-Present
  • Alumni Association, The University of Utah Par Excellence Award, 2016
  • The Washingtonian, Top Lawyer, 2015, 2017
  • The Washington Post, Among the Top Attorneys in D.C., 2014

Recent News

Click here for a full list of media coverage.

Recent Speaking Engagements

  • Chair, National Forum on FARA, American Conference Institute, September 25, 2019
  • Speaker, Foreign Agents Registration Act: A New Era of Enforcement, Thomson Reuters, April 10, 2019
  • Panelist, Money, Disclosure & Free Speech: Can There be Too Much?, Elections: Where Law & Politics Intersect, Journal of Law & Politics, March 5, 2019
  • Speaker, Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA): Compliance Objectives for U.S. Entities, Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, November 19, 2018
  • Speaker, Campaign Finance in the 2014 Election and in the Future, West LegalEdcenter, Webinar, November 10, 2014
  • Speaker, Best Practices in Corporate Political Activity, West LegalEdcenter, Webinar, October 13, 2014
  • Speaker, Best Practices in Corporate Political Activity, West LegalEdcenter, Webinar, October 13, 2014
  • Speaker, Effective Advocacy in Washington, Even Without a PAC, West LegalEdcenter, Webinar, September 15, 2014
  • Speaker, Engaging with Government: Recent Trends in Political Law, Society for Corporate Compliance and Ethics, Web Conference, September 10, 2014
  • Speaker, The New ‘Super PAC'?: All You Ever Wanted to Know About Joint Fundraising Committees, Caplin & Drysdale, April 11, 2014
  • Speaker, Campaign Finance After Citizens United: Colbert Super PAC and Other (Less Hilarious) Phenomena, Utah State Bar Annual Conference, July 20, 2013
  • Speaker, Lessons from the Least Horrible Super PACs of 2012, Netroots Nation, 8th Annual Conference, June 22, 2013
  • Presenter, Campaign Finance after Citizens United: A Primer on Super PACs and Corporate Political Activity, West LegalEdcenter and Westlaw GC, Webcast, May 8, 2012

Click here for a full list of speaking engagements.

Recent Publications

Click here for a full list of publications.