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Highlights

The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA) of 2007 amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 by doubling the frequency of lobbyists' reporting and increasing criminal and civil penalties. This is GAO's first report in response to the Act's requirement for GAO to annually (1) determine the extent to which lobbyists can demonstrate compliance with the Act by providing support for information on their registrations and reports, (2) describe challenges identified by lobbyists to complying with the Act, and (3) identify the process for referring cases to the Department of Justice and the resources and authorities available to effectively enforce the Act. GAO reviewed a random sample of 100 reports filed by lobbyists during the first quarter of calendar year 2008. This methodology allowed GAO to generalize to the population of 17,801 reports filed. GAO also met with lobbyists regarding their filings and with Department of Justice officials regarding resources and authorities

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
District of Columbia District 1. The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia should complete efforts to develop plans for a structured approach to focus limited resources on those lobbyists that continually fail to file as required or are otherwise not in compliance. Such an approach should require the Office to track the referrals when they are made, record reasons for the referrals, record the actions taken to resolve them, and assess the results of actions taken.
Closed - Implemented
In January 2011, we reviewed a system the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia developed to address issues we raised in our report regarding the need to provide a more structured approach for assigning resources and providing a better focus of lobbying disclosure compliance enforcement efforts. In April 2011, we reported that the current system provides a foundation that allows the Office to better focus its lobbying compliance efforts by tracking and recording the status and disposition of enforcement activities. In addition, we stated that the system allows the Office to monitor lobbyists who continually fail to file the required disclosure reports. As a result of our review, we determined that the system the Office developed addresses the recommendation.

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