Lobbying Firm Agrees to Pay $125,000 Civil Penalty For Violating Lobbying Disclosure Act
Firm Repeatedly Failed to Meet Reporting Requirements
WASHINGTON – Carmen Group, a lobbying firm based in Washington, D.C., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $125,000 in order to resolve allegations that it repeatedly failed to file lobbying and contribution disclosure reports that are required by the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent H. Cohen, Jr. announced today.
The settlement was reached after the U.S. House of Representative and Senate referred Carmen Group to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. It represents the second resolution of LDA violations this year and the largest civil penalty settlement under the LDA to date. In January 2015, Alan Mauk Associates Ltd. agreed to pay a $30,000 civil penalty in order to resolve similar claims. In 2013, the United States secured a $200,000 default judgment against Biassi Business Services Inc. for that firm’s violations of the LDA.
“The American public has a right to know about the efforts of paid lobbyists to influence legislative and executive decision-making,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen. “Lobbyists who fail to report their activities thwart the purpose of the Lobbying Disclosure Act and remove transparency from the legislative process. This settlement reflects our determination to seek significant penalties from repeat offenders who fail to meet their reporting obligations.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has the unique responsibility of enforcing the LDA and its reporting requirements. The office notifies all of the referred firms and individuals that they must comply with the LDA and informs them of potential civil and criminal penalties. The office pursues LDA penalties against lobbyists that continue to be noncompliant in their filing practices.
Carmen Group was accused of failing to file some of its quarterly reports regarding its lobbying activities. In addition, some of the individual lobbyists who were registered to work on behalf of Carmen Group’s clients were accused of violating the LDA by failing to file some of their semiannual reports regarding their political contributions.
In settling the case, Carmen Group denied that it ever knowingly violated the LDA. The firm has now complied fully with its outstanding reporting obligations.
Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen commended the work of those who handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer A. Short.