When George W. Bush was considering making a run for president in 1998, then-Texas A&M University student Chris Gober snagged a job as an intern for Bush’s exploratory committee. It marked the beginning of his fascination with politics.
"Politics is my passion," Gober says. "I have just been fortunate to make a career out of my interests and my passions."
Gober worked on Bush’s campaigns in 2000 and 2004, finding time to go to law school in between the two campaigns. After taking his last exam at Harvard Law School in 2004, he flew to Texas to pick up a car and drove to Missouri to work for Bush’s re-election, he says.
His first job as a lawyer came at the beginning of Bush’s second term. In 2005, Gober received a political appointment as counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Policy, where he says he was involved in the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act and served on the judicial nominations unit during the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel Alito.
After his stint at the DOJ, he wanted to be a federal prosecutor, but no positions were open, Gober says. So, in March 2006, he became deputy general counsel for the Republican National Committee, moving on to become general counsel of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in January 2007. He says that, during that time, he discovered what would become his practice area: political law.
Gober says that in January 2009, he returned to Texas to join Fish & Richardson in Dallas as of counsel and head of the firm’s political law section. He left Fish in 2011 to join Michael Hilgers in founding Gober Hilgers in Dallas, he says, and has represented numerous U.S. senators, representatives and multibillion dollar companies in litigation and in federal and congressional investigations.
In 2012, Gober began representing a political action committee in a First Amendment suit. It challenged the constitutionality of Texas Election Code provisions prohibiting PACs from accepting corporate political contributions and using them to make direct expenditures benefitting candidates running for state or local offices. The PAC won the first round in Texans for Free Enterprise v. Texas Ethics Commission, et al. on Dec. 6, 2012: U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of the Western District of Texas granted a preliminary injunction that prohibits the TEC from enforcing the election code provisions restricting contributions by corporations.
Lewis Sessions, principal in Dallas’ Sessions & Schaffer and Gober’s co-counsel in Texans for Free Enterprise, credits Gober, who argued the case, for the success in obtaining the preliminary injunction.
"I thought Chris did a fabulous job going right to the point key to our prevailing," Sessions says.
The TEC appealed Yeakel’s order, and the case is pending before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals.