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GAO: Small Number of Lobbying Disclosures Are Wrong

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The GAO is bound by law under the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 to file an annual review of compliance with lobbying disclosure requirements. A review of last year's disclosure compliance was released yesterday. For the review, the GAO randomly audited 100 lobby shops to determine their level of compliance. The contains statistics on those 100 lobby shops and estimations for the statistical level of disclosure across all lobby shops. Here are some of the noteworthy estimated statistics:

  • 6 percent of all lobbyist disclosures "erroneously report the amount of income or expenses for lobbying activity."
  • 7 percent, at minimum, of all lobbyist disclosures "list lobbying activity that did not actually happen."
  • 3 percent, at minimum, of all lobbyist disclosures "fail to fully disclose whether the individual lobbyists for a specific client held an official covered position."
  • 4 percent, at minimum, of all lobbyist contribution disclosures "omit donations that should have been reported."

And these are statistics based on the 100 randomly audited lobby shops:

  • 14 percent of lobbyist disclosures were contradicted by documentation provided by lobbyists.
  • 65 percent of lobbyist contribution disclosures "could be supported by FEC data or documentation provided by lobbyists."
  • 16 percent of lobbyist contribution disclosures (LD-203) "contained erroneous entries or failed to disclose required contributions."
  • 13 percent of registrants could not be linked to "a corresponding report... likely because either a report was not filed or reports that were filed contained information, such as client names, that did not match."

You can read the full report here.