GAO Releases Report on LDA Compliance; Deadline Approaching for LDA Reporting

Skadden Publication / Political Law Update

Ki P. Hong Charles M. Ricciardelli Matthew Bobys Melissa L. Miles Tyler Rosen Theodore R. Grodek

Below we summarize findings from a recent report on Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) compliance and remind you of an upcoming LDA deadline.

GAO Report on LDA Compliance

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released its annual report concerning compliance with the LDA. The report contains findings of GAO audits of randomly selected LDA filings, including a review of internal documentation of reportable activity, interviews with a registrant’s employees, and a comparison of contents with other information available on the public record, such as Federal Election Commission filings.

The GAO found that:

  • 45% of audited semiannual LD-203 reports were missing reportable political contributions, a significant increase in noncompliance from prior years;
  • 20% of audited quarterly LD-2 reports did not properly disclose prior governmental positions held by lobbyists; and
  • The clerk of the House of Representatives and secretary of the Senate made a total of 4,220 referrals of LDA noncompliance matters to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia between 2009 and 2019. According to the GAO, 41% of those referrals have resulted in a filer coming into compliance and 59% still await resolution through corrected filings or, potentially, civil or criminal penalties.

Reminder of LDA Deadline

As explained in our March 25, 2020,1 mailing, the secretary of the Senate and clerk of the House have no authority to extend deadlines for required reports under the LDA. Such an extension would require an act of Congress, which is not anticipated at this time. Thus, 2020 first quarter LD-2 reports are still due on April 20, 2020. Failure to file on time could result in a referral for further action, as described above.

Please contact us with any questions or if assistance is needed in responding to a GAO audit or a referral to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.


1 Please see our March 25, 2020, mailing here.

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