Lobbyist accused of breaking law

A Beltway lobbying firm is coming under fire for allegedly not filing routine disclosure forms and could face up to $5.2 million in fines, according to a federal court filing.

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Alan Mauk, the sole lobbyist at Alan Mauk Associates in Alexandria, Va., was allegedly late in filing at least 13 quarterly lobbying activity reports and 13 semi-annual reports that detail campaign donations from lobbyists, in spite of being reminded by the House and Senate at least 22 times, according to the filing. He faces a fine of up to $200,000 per violation.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia filed the civil complaint last week against Mauk, which runs from 2009 to 2013. Mauk did not respond to requests for comment.

According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, Mauk had his most profitable year in 2002, when he brought in $280,000 in lobbying revenues. That number fell to $30,000 in 2008, the year before he allegedly began failing to file his lobbying disclosures.

Federal records show Mauk’s current clients are the Chickasaw Nation and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, though most of his reports from 2013 are not available.

The complaint, if settled, would be the second enforcement action relating to the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) in the past year.

Enforcement actions can only be brought against those who register as lobbyists, which critics say has created an incentive for so-called shadow lobbyists to avoid disclosure.

In June, the firm Biassi Business Services Inc. faced up to $33 million for not filing 124 individual reports, but ended up settling for $200,000 in fines.

There have only been three other settlements paid by firms for not complying with the LDA since 2007, with fines ranging from $30,000 to $50,000.

The complaint against Mauk was first reported by the Legal Times