August 28, 2015

U.S. Attorney Obtains $125,000 Lobbying Disclosure Act Settlement

Holland & Knight Eyes on Washington Blog
Christopher DeLacy
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia recently announced a settlement with a lobbying firm that includes a $125,000 fine for missing Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) reports. This civil penalty is the largest to date under the LDA and is the latest example of increasing LDA enforcement activity that may at some point include a criminal prosecution. Increased civil fines and criminal penalties for LDA violations were provided by Congress in 2007. This case was referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office by the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate. To date, the Secretary of the Senate has referred a total of 13,948 potential LDA violations to the U.S. Attorney's Office. In many cases involving LDA violations, notices from the Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the House are ignored or not properly responded to in a timely fashion, resulting in a referral to the U.S. Attorney. Another common LDA compliance issue is ensuring separating or former employees submit all outstanding LDA reports. Violations of the LDA are punishable by civil penalties of up to $200,000 per violation and criminal penalties of up to five years in prison. Accordingly, all entities registered under the LDA must have an LDA compliance program and individuals subject to the LDA should consult with counsel. 

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