Formed and worked with the Southeastern Ohio Landowners Association (SEOLA) to combine the acreage of landowners in five southeastern counties in order to negotiate oil and gas leases with multiple energy companies. SEOLA blossomed into the longest-lasting and most successful landowners group in Ohio with a dozen deals closed with eight different oil and gas companies, involving approximately 70,000 acres and more than $300 million in upfront, per-acre bonus payments to SEOLA landowners.
Maria J. Armstrong
Maria Armstrong is a partner and chair of Bricker & Eckler's Regulated Industries group, which includes a number of practices such as Energy & Public Utilities; Environment; Green Strategies; Government Relations; and Insurance & Financial Services. She represents private and governmental clients in all aspects of state and local government with an emphasis on campaign finance, election law, ethics, public contracting, energy and renewable energy. Maria serves as legal counsel to corporations, ballot issue committees and trade associations in support or opposition to statewide ballot initiatives, constitutional amendments, and referendums. In addition, she assists numerous corporations and nonprofit entities with corporate compliance and governmental regulations relative to public ethics, lobbying and campaign finance laws. She also provides legal and service support to providers and contractors seeking to obtain, challenge, renew or modify state contracts or grant agreements.
Maria also works with clients on various aspects of environmental regulation, including advanced energy and energy efficiency developments, power purchase agreements and leasing arrangements. She structures projects to take full advantage of various financing opportunities and models and assists clients with negotiating their energy contracts. Maria has been heavily involved in Ohio's developing shale oil market, working with numerous landowners on environmental, leasing and title curative matters.
Maria began her legal career as an Assistant City Attorney and Prosecutor in the Columbus City Attorney’s Office where she served at various times in the civil, criminal and appellate divisions. Before joining Bricker & Eckler, Maria served in several public offices, including six years in the Office of the Ohio Governor. From 1996 through 1999, Maria served as Chief Legal Counsel to the Ohio Governor George V. Voinovich and provided counsel directly to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Cabinet on legal and ethical matters, high-level policy concerns, and legislative initiatives. In this capacity, Maria served as the Governor's liaison to the Attorney General, Supreme Court, Ethics Commission, and Inspector General.
During her career, Maria was also appointed to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission, an adjudicatory panel that decides administrative appeals from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and other environmental agencies. In that capacity, Maria handled a variety of cases and legal issues in all areas of state and federal environmental laws. As General Counsel to the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, Maria managed the legal and legislative divisions, playing a statewide policy role on administrative and procurement matters and providing legal support for construction, contracting, formal and informal bidding procedures, state procurement, personnel, collective bargaining, and equal opportunity matters.
Maria practices before the Ohio Elections Commission, Ohio Ethics Commission and all administrative agencies, as well as the state and federal Courts. Her focus is on assisting clients to understand the regulatory framework and establish practical governance policies and protocols.
- Board Member, Huckleberry House
- Board Member, Ohio Energy Project
- Former Board Member, Capitol Square Review and Advisory Committee
- Former Member, Senator DeWine’s Federal Appointment Advisory Group
- Speaker, "Government Affairs Quick Hits," Bricker & Eckler LLP CLE seminar, July 22, 2014
- Speaker, “How to Navigate the ODNR Well Database and Well Locator,” Ohio State Bar Association CLE, August 2013
- Speaker, “I’m not the levy police, but since you asked …,” Ohio Association of School Board Officials annual meeting, 2012
- Speaker, “Political Activity in a Nonprofit World,” Bricker & Eckler LLP seminar, 2012
- Speaker, “Lobbying Activity by Non-Profit Organizations: Benefits of 501(h) Election,” Joint Legislative Ethics Commission CLE seminar, 2012
- Speaker, “Running A Levy Campaign: Top 4 Complaints in School Levy Campaigns,” Buckeye Association of School Administrators CLE seminar, 2012
- Speaker, “Legislative Simulation,” Ohio Certified Public Manager Program, The Ohio State University John Glenn School of Public Affairs, 2012
- Speaker, “Building Bridges — Developing and Maintaining Relationships with the Lawyers and Law Firms that Represent the Regulated Community,” Council on Governmental Ethics Laws annual national conference, 2012
- Speaker, “What you need to know about oil, gas, shale, wind, and solar panel leases,” Ohio School Boards Association Law School Workshop, 2012
- Speaker, “Corporate Political Activity: PACs, Independent Expenditures and Other Permissible Activities,” Columbus Rotary Club monthly luncheon meeting, 2012
- Speaker, “Ethics in Local Government Management,” Ohio/City/County Management Association Winter Conference, 2011
- Panelist, Alternative Energy Financing, Women in Public Finance (Ohio Chapter), 2011
- Author, "Public- and Private-Sector Partnership Guidelines Issued by Ohio Ethics Commission," Bricker & Eckler's Nonprofit Advocate, January 13, 2011
- Author, "Public Procurement Law, An International Overview; USA-Ohio," West Publishing, 2011 Edition
- Member, Ohio State Bar Association
- Member, Columbus Bar Association (Green Initiative Committee)
- Lawyer to Lawyer Mentor, Ohio Supreme Court
- Member, National Council on Governmental Ethics Laws
- Listed, Best Lawyers in America (Energy Regulatory Law) 2014-2016
- The Ohio State University College of Law (J.D., 1987)
- The Ohio State University (B.A., 1984)
Ohio and federal contribution limits, campaign finance reporting calendars and lobbyist reporting deadlines
Smart political contribution or felony?
FEC issues special election report notice for 8th Congressional District
States begin to regulate independent and coordinated expenditures
Ballot issues: How involved can corporations get?
Best Lawyers recognizes Bricker & Eckler attorneys
Best Lawyers recognizes Bricker & Eckler attorneys
Represented the Chief Justice, the lead Disciplinary Counsel and the Director of the Board of Professional Conduct in defending the constitutionality of Ohio’s Code of Judicial Conduct against First and Fourteenth Amendment challenges. Representation included successful merits briefs in the Southern District of Ohio and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Served as bond counsel on unvoted financing for participation in Ohio School Facilities Commission Program.
Assisted a client with protecting trade secrets and proprietary information when confidential information had to be submitted to public agencies with bid documents, proposals or other materials.
Represented a client before the Federal and Ohio Elections Commissions on a variety of election and campaign finance matters.
Assisted a client in understanding state procurement, bid protests and contract requirements.
Assisted a college with various aspects of environmental regulation, including advanced energy and energy efficiency developments, power purchase agreements and leasing arrangements, in order to help them take full advantage of various financing opportunities.
Advised a public hospital regarding its response to a series of requests for a large number of public records.
Provided analysis and guidance to business leaders and executives regarding conflicts of interest and other public sector ethical issues that arise when they accept public board or commission appointments.
Provided guidance to a health care client related to operating their PACs, hosting candidate events and corporate participation in the national convention, ballot issue activity or independent election activity.
Assisted corporations and trade and training associations with the adoption of policies, procedures and training modules to assist employees and HR professionals in complying with the laws regulating ethics, lobbying, campaign and other aspects of public/private business relationships.