Ballard Partners, Southern Strategy top list of Q3 lobbyist compensation

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Florida’s top four lobbying firms took in about $18 million, nearly 20 percent of the total money spent by organizations on advocacy in 2014, according to Q3 lobbying compensation data finalized on Monday.

Topping the list is Ballard Partners, headed by Republican fundraiser Brian Ballard, with nearly $5.6 million year to date.

With about $1.8 million taken in during the third quarter, Ballard’s revenue is about the same as the previous two quarters of the year.

Ballard’s biggest customers this quarter: Automated Healthcare Solutions, $227,000; U.S. Sugar, $135,000; and $105,000 each from the Trump Organization and Investment Corp. of Palm Beach, a group managed by the Rooney family, which owns both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Palm Beach Kennel Club.

Palm Beach County is Ballard’s home base and his firm has a number of clients from the area: $15,000 each from the cities of Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Lantana, and both Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens. Florida Power and Light also chipped in $45,000.

Next comes Southern Strategy Group, once the lobbying home of former state Sen. John Thrasher – the new Florida State University president. Southern Strategy Group’s year-to-date total is just behind Ballard partners at $5.4 million; $1.3 million came in the third quarter.

Top SSG clients in Q3 include TECO Energy, $135,000; $75,000 each from Mosaic Co. and Scripps Research Institute; and $30,000 from the Health Care District of Palm Beach County,

Ron Book is third with $4 million so far in 2014. Book’s clients include $204,000 from Deerfield Beach-based disaster recovery firm Ashbritt. In 2012, Ashbritt received a no-bid contract from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for Hurricane Sandy cleanup.

Book also took in $168,000 from the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis.

Fourth highest was Capital City Consulting, collecting $3.2 million in 2014 to date.

Top CCC clients include: $105,000 from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office; $135,000 from insurance giant Aetna; Las Vegas Sands with $229,000; the Everglades Foundation, $75,000; and $25,000 from the School District of Palm Beach County.

Florida law permits lobbying firms to report quarterly compensation totals in ranges, so exact numbers are not known: $1 to $9,999; $10,000 – $19,999; $20,000 – $29,999; $30,000 – $39,999; $40,000 – $49,999; or $50,000 or more.

Specific numbers are only required in the “$50,000 or more” category, all others are median figures.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.