We are regularly approached by both our RIA (and BD too) clients, who inquire, usually around election time, how they should make political contributions. Our advice is usually do not make the political contribution and you can blame your lawyer!

However, those persons, ignoring that advice, should be concerned that the SEC, recently, fined an investment adviser for violating the Investment Advisers Act of 1940’s pay-to-play rule prohibiting an RIA from accepting compensation for 2 years following a political contribution to an official that may influence, who obtains an investment contract.  See https://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin/2018/ia-4960.pdf.  Although in this case the significant investment in the RIA’s managed fund preceded the campaign contribution, it simply did not matter. The RIA could no longer do business with the entity once the campaign contribution was made, it was simply strict liability.

Thus, we are always reluctant to recommend that a client should make a political contribution since it could cost the RIA business.