Two lobbying firms in Virginia have agreed to a combined $80,000 settlement with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia over their repeated failure to file lobbying and contribution disclosure reports, prosecutors said today.
Lussier, Gregor, Vienna & Associates, in Alexandria, agreed to pay a $50,000 civil penalty, and the Da Vinci Group, which has offices in Washington and in Leesburg, Va., will pay $30,000 in an unrelated case. Congress referred the two firms to the U.S. Attorney's Office for review of any violations of the Lobbying Disclosure Act.
The action against the two firms was rare. Before today's announcement, only one firm has settled over a breach of lobbying rules since 2007. The U.S. Attorney's Office said today that "the majority of lobbyists referred to the office come into compliance by filing the required reports."
U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr. said in April that his office had devoted additional resources to meet responsibilities under the Lobbying Disclosure Act. "We take violations of the [act] very seriously and are doing whatever is necessary to encourage technical compliance and to identify willful violators who are not acting in the required and transparent manner," Machen said.
Tom Lussier of Lussier, Gregor,Vienna & Associates was not immediately reached for comment this afternoon. Mark Smith, president of Da Vinci Group, also was not immediately reached.
Machen said in a statement today that he is hopeful the settlements with the two firms are "instructive to other lobbyists."
"If you are a repeat offender who fails to take your reporting obligations seriously, we will seek to hold you accountable in order to protect the public's right to know who is seeking to influence policy on Capitol Hill,” Machen said.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said the two lobbying groups have now complied with reporting obligations.
Staff photo by Diego M. Radzinschi