- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 5, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Uber has been fined $2,000 for violating lobbying rules in Portland, the city auditor said Tuesday.

Auditor Mary Hull Caballero said the ride-sharing company failed to disclose that political consultant Mark Wiener was working as a lobbyist on its behalf in late 2014 and early 2015.

In December 2014, Wiener arranged a secret meeting at his home that included Uber representatives and two elected officials he has advised - Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick.

The meeting came days after city leaders ordered Uber to cease operations in Portland and Novick threatened to heavily penalize the company for disregarding taxi regulations.

By April, the City Council allowed ride-hailing services to legally operate in Portland, with Hales and Novick voting in favor.

The fine is the maximum allowed under city code and the first monetary penalty for breaking lobbyist-registration rules that went into effect in 2006.

“The public’s trust is undermined when decision makers and those trying to influence them don’t report their activities,” Hull Caballero said in a statement announcing the fine.

Hull Caballero sent written warnings in September to Hales and Novick for neglecting to report the meeting at Wiener’s home on their public calendars.

Novick has apologized for the infraction. Dana Haynes, then a spokesman for Hales, said in an email at the time that meetings sometimes come together too quickly or too late in the day to be reflected in the official calendar, but, “we will continue to attempt to capture all such meetings.”

Uber, estimated to be worth more than $50 billion, has until Feb. 4 to pay the fine. In a letter the company submitted to Portland’s auditor in December, Uber acknowledged the error. The company said it initiated a review and uncovered that it “inadvertently did not report any lobbying activity” to the city because of an administrative oversight.

The company has amended its original lobbying report, corrected the record, and will pay the fine, Uber spokesperson Eva Behrend said.

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