The Lobbying Disclosure Enhancement Act passed the House to establish a task force to strengthen enforcement of rules for federally registered lobbyists. Originally, the bill was the Fees on Lobbyists Act. It would have set up registration fees and fines for lobbyists’ late filings to fund enforcement. However, the bill was amended to simply create the Lobbying Disclosure Enforcement Task Force.
The bill, H.R.5751 replaces the U.S. Attorney with the Attorney General (AG) as the recipient of referrals of cases under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA). The task force will investigate and prosecute possible LDA violations. The bill also calls on the AG to make recommendations on LDA enforcement.
We have previously reported on the lack of enforcement of the LDA. Usually, lobbyists who do not comply with registration requirements face no repercussions. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH). She issued a press release which stated that the task force, "will go after lobbyists who engage in shoddy reporting practices and hide behind ignorance of the law."
"When Americans on Main Street try to cheat or break the law, there are repercussions; but for years, there was no way to hold lobbyists accountable for games they play with their disclosures."