Photo of Holly Fechner

Holly Fechner

Holly Fechner advises clients on complex public policy matters that combine legal and political opportunities and risks. She leads teams that represent companies, entities, and organizations in significant policy and regulatory matters before Congress and the Executive Branch.

She is a co-chair of the Covington’s Technology Industry Group and a member of the Covington Political Action Committee board of directors.

Holly works with clients to:

  • Develop compelling public policy strategies
  • Research law and draft legislation and policy
  • Draft testimony, comments, fact sheets, letters and other documents
  • Advocate before Congress and the Executive Branch
  • Form and manage coalitions
  • Develop communications strategies

She is the Executive Director of Invent Together and a visiting lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She serves on the board of directors of the American Constitution Society.

Holly served as Policy Director for Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Chief Labor and Pensions Counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee.

She received The American Lawyer, "Dealmaker of the Year" award. in 2019. The Hill named her a “Top Lobbyist” from 2013 to the present, and she has been ranked by Chambers USA - America's Leading Business Lawyers from 2012 to the present.

Nearly a year after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) launched the SAFE Innovation Framework for artificial intelligence (AI) with Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Todd Young (R-IN), the bipartisan group has released a 31-page “Roadmap” for AI policy.  The overarching theme of the Roadmap is “harnessing the full potential of AI while minimizing the risks of AI in the near and long term.”

In contrast to Europe’s approach to regulating AI, the Roadmap does not propose or even contemplate a comprehensive AI law.  Rather, it identifies key themes and areas of agreement and directs the relevant congressional committees of jurisdiction to legislate on key issues.  The Roadmap recommendations are informed by the nine AI Insight Forums that the bipartisan group convened over the last year.Continue Reading Bipartisan Senate AI Roadmap Released

As the 2024 elections approach and the window for Congress to consider bipartisan comprehensive artificial intelligence (AI) legislation shrinks, California officials are attempting to guard against a generative AI free-for-all—at least with respect to state government use of the rapidly advancing technology—by becoming the largest state to issue rules for state procurement of AI technologies.  Without nationwide federal rules, standards set by state government procurement rules may ultimately add another layer of complexity to the patchwork of AI-related rules and standards emerging in the states.

On March 21, 2024, the California Government Operations Agency (GovOps) published interim guidelines for government procurement of generative AI technologies.  The new guidance directs state officials responsible for awarding and managing public contracts to identify risks of generative AI, monitor the technology’s use, and train staff on acceptable use, including for procurements that only involve “incidental” AI elements.  For “intentional” generative AI procurements, where an agency is specifically seeking to purchase a generative AI product or service, the guidelines impose a higher standard: in addition to the requirements that apply to “incidental” purchases, agencies seeking generative AI technologies are responsible for articulating the need for using generative AI prior to procurement, testing the technology prior to implementation, and establishing a dedicated team to monitor the AI on an ongoing basis.Continue Reading California Establishes Working Guidance for AI Procurement

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senators Todd Young (R-IN), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) recently introduced the Future of AI Innovation Act, a legislative package that addresses key bipartisan priorities to promote AI safety, standardization, and access.  The bill would also advance U.S. leadership in AI by facilitating R&D and creating testbeds for AI systems.Continue Reading New Bipartisan Senate Legislation Aims to Bolster U.S. AI Research and Deployment

On April 2, the California Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Safe and Secure Innovation for Frontier Artificial Intelligence Models Act (SB 1047) and favorably reported the bill in a 9-0 vote (with 2 members not voting).  The vote marks a major step toward comprehensive artificial intelligence (AI) regulation in a state that is home to both Silicon Valley and the nation’s first comprehensive privacy law.Continue Reading California Senate Committee Advances Comprehensive AI Bill

On February 20, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) announced a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) task force in the House of Representatives, with the goal of developing principles and policies to promote U.S. leadership and security with respect to AI.  Rep. Jay Olbernolte (R-CA) will chair the task force, joined by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) as co-chair.  Several other senior members of the California delegation, including Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and retiring Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), will participate in the effort as well.Continue Reading New Bipartisan House Task Force May Signal Legislative Momentum on Artificial Intelligence

Recently, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced new legislation to address transparency and accountability for artificial intelligence (AI) systems, including those deployed for certain “critical impact” use cases. While many other targeted, bipartisan AI bills have been introduced in both chambers of Congress, this bill appears to be one of the first to propose specific legislative text for broadly regulating AI testing and use across industries.Continue Reading Bipartisan group of Senators introduce new AI transparency legislation

The field of artificial intelligence (“AI”) is at a tipping point. Governments and industries are under increasing pressure to forecast and guide the evolution of a technology that promises to transform our economies and societies. In this series, our lawyers and advisors provide an overview of the policy approaches and regulatory frameworks for AI in jurisdictions around the world. Given the rapid pace of technological and policy developments in this area, the articles in this series should be viewed as snapshots in time, reflecting the current policy environment and priorities in each jurisdiction.

The following article examines the state of play in AI policy and regulation in the United States. The previous article in this series covered the European Union.Continue Reading Spotlight Series on Global AI Policy — Part II: U.S. Legislative and Regulatory Developments

Unless Congress reaches an agreement to keep the lights on, the U.S. government appears headed for a shutdown at midnight on October 1.  As the deadline looms, stakeholders should not let the legislative jockeying overshadow another consequence of a funding lapse: regulatory delay.  Under normal circumstances, federal agencies publish thousands of rules per year, covering agriculture, health care, transportation, financial services, and a host of other issues.  In a shutdown, however, most agency proceedings to develop and issue these regulations would grind to a halt, and a prolonged funding gap would lead to uncertainty for stakeholders, particularly as the 2024 elections approach.  Another consequence is that more regulations could become vulnerable to congressional disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).Continue Reading Looming Shutdown Elevates Congressional Review Act Threat for New Regulations

On April 25, 2023, four federal agencies — the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) — released a joint statement on the agencies’ efforts to address discrimination and bias in automated systems. Continue Reading DOJ, FTC, CFPB, and EEOC Statement on Discrimination and AI

Today, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released its first Notice of Funding Opportunity for development of next-generation wireless infrastructure under the new Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund (“Innovation Fund”).  According to NTIA’s announcement, this first tranche of funding will include up to $140.5 million in grants, ranging from $250,000 to $50 million, specifically to support expanded testing and evaluation of the performance, security, or interoperability of open, interoperable (“open-RAN”) wireless networks.  Companies (both for- and nonprofit), higher education institutions, industry groups, and consortia of multiple organizations are eligible to apply.Continue Reading Commerce Department Issues First Funding Notice for Wireless Innovation Fund