RICK BOUCHER, former 14 term U.S. Congressman and founding member of Sidley’s Government Strategies group, focuses his practice on counseling clients whose business needs require the development of public policy strategies.
Rick has extensive experience representing clients in Congressional investigations, counseling them on the expectations of the investigating committee, preparing written materials responsive to investigative requests, preparing witnesses for investigative hearings and interacting with the committee on the client’s behalf throughout the investigative process. During his 28 years of service as a member of Congress, he participated in dozens of congressional investigations and gained a perspective and experience which now benefits Sidley clients. With a long tenure on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rick now advocates for clients who have an interest in legislation affecting telecommunications, the internet, energy and air emissions, consumer protection and healthcare.
Rick’s representative matters include:
- One of the nation’s largest internet platforms in the legislative debate over the extent of website immunity for content posted by third parties.
- One of the world’s largest automotive parts manufacturers in the highest profile Congressional investigation of 2014 conducted by both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee.
- Preparation of a Fortune 50 company’s CEO for testimony before a Senate Committee.
- A Fortune 20 technology company that provides wired and wireless data services. Rick’s advice focuses on federal communications policy, including privacy regulations, the transition of all communications to the internet protocol, wired and wireless data services and the need to maintain the lightly regulated status of broadband to facilitate both technology innovation and private sector investment.
- A synthetic biology company which developed a self-limiting genetically engineered mosquito which has the ability to suppress dramatically mosquito populations. Rick advised the company on ways to elevate the company’s profile among policymakers in Congress and in the administration with the goal of obtaining regulatory approval of the company’s technology and having federal funds dedicated to mosquito suppression efforts as a core aspect of the federal government’s Zika virus response.
- A life insurance company in congressional inquiries regarding insurance benefits payment practices.
- A major national retail store chain in a data breach investigation conducted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sidley’s representation included preparation of the company’s witness for hearings before both committees.
- A national association of electricity companies on the policy aspects of smart meter deployment and the effect of distributed generation on the operation and financing of electricity distribution systems.
- A leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider on steps it should take to satisfy federal government policymakers regarding cybersecurity risks. Rick counseled this company through two congressional investigations.
- A global leader in the paper and packing industry in administrative proceedings before EPA regarding EPA’s decision on a superfund site.
- A global provider of internet infrastructure services regarding the company’s interactions with ICANN and the ongoing international debate regarding internet governance.
- A foreign bank in relation to U.S. economic sanctions policy.
During his Congressional career, Rick was a member of both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Judiciary Committee, chairing the subcommittees on Energy and Air Quality; and Communications, Technology and the internet. Rick was a leading participant in every major Congressional telecommunications policy debate for a three decade period. Recently, Rick was an invited witness providing testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on various aspects of network neutrality.
He chaired the subcommittee that oversaw the commercialization of the internet and its transition from a government-owned R&D project to the global platform we know today. In that role he was the primary author of the 1992 law that permitted the first commercial use of the internet.
He was one of two co-founders of the Congressional Internet Caucus, and served as co-chairman of the 170 member group for 15 years. Rick was an architect of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, was instrumental in drafting the initial legislation providing privacy rights for internet users, and has been a longstanding proponent of fair use opportunities for digital media purchasers. Rick has been recognized since 2013 in The Best Lawyers in America for his work in Communications Law and is broadly recognized as one of the leading congressional authorities on privacy, telecommunications and internet policy.
In the areas of energy and the environment, Rick was an architect of the Clean Air Amendments of 1990 and was a major participant in the formulation of greenhouse gas control legislation, having worked extensively with business leaders to achieve a legislative balance that garnered the support of the largest investor owned utilities. In that effort, he organized and chaired 28 days of hearings on global climate change and drafted cap and trade legislation for greenhouse gas control which became the foundation for the legislation (American Clean Energy and Security Act) that passed the House in 2009.
In addition to his energy and telecommunications-related work, Rick drafted and introduced the Bipartisan Free Flow of Information Act, which passed the House on two occasions and provided a qualified privilege for news reporters to withhold confidential sources. He was the lead Democratic co-sponsor of both the Comprehensive Bankruptcy Reform and Class-Action Reform measures, signed into law by President George W. Bush.
Since 2012, Rick has been ranked by Best Lawyers in America for his work in Communications Law.
Rick served in the Virginia Senate for seven years and before entering public service was in the private practice of law for 12 years in New York and Virginia.