Registered governmental affairs firms, representing virtually every industry in Florida, reported earning slightly more than $35 million from January 1 to March 31 of this year to lobby the Florida Legislature.
FloridaPolitics.com previously reported which firms made what, with Ballard Partners and Southern Strategy Group leading all firms in Q2 compensation.
Crunching the numbers, here are a few additional thoughts on the second-quarter numbers. (None of these numbers include compensation for executive branch lobbying, which can be just as lucrative for a firm. However, for the purposes of this story, let’s compare apples to apples and focus on just legislative fees.)
— Business remains good: Median compensation figures are up approximately $1,125,000 over the second quarter of 2015.
— Business will likely remain good: Although it might be assumed that firms make more money in fiscal quarters near a legislative session, most lobbyists are paid on a monthly basis, thereby spreading fees out over all four quarters. Accordingly, if compensation increased by over $5 million from 2014-Q4 to 2015-Q1 and 2015-Q2, the industry is on track for double-digit growth in 2015.
— Ballard Partners’ and SSG’s hauls are even bigger than they appear here: Ballard nearly doubled its total with executive branch compensation, while Southern added approximately $1 million more to its bottom line from work before the executive branch.
— The Big 4 remains locked in, but the battle is on for the #3 spot: If lobbyists played in the College Football Playoff, the four teams playing for the championship would be SSG, Ballard Partners, Ron Book PA, and Capital City Consulting. This has not changed in any of the quarters since FloridaPolitics.com/SaintPetersBlog started tracking the compensation numbers, although SSG and Ballard often trade places. SSG has been on top (in these rankings) for four of the last six quarters. If you only count legislative compensation, as we do in these figures, Book is comfortably ahead of CCC. But when you throw in executive branch representation figures, Nick Iarossi and Co. are very close to securing the #3 position.
— The interesting battle for fifth place is getting more interesting: Since 2014-Q1, the #5 spot has been held by Colodny Fass, GrayRobinson, Colodny Fass, GrayRobinson, and GrayRobinson. Well, watch out Adams Street, there is a new Top 5 firm: Greenberg Traurig, which is benefiting from, among other factors, Fred Karlinsky’s rainmaking. This time last year, GT was ranked #14 on this list; now it’s (back?) in the top echelon of governmental affairs firms. (Gus Corbella, Hayden Dempsey, etc. would tell you GT never left.)
— The battle to be among the Top 10 is even more competitive: Because Greenberg Traurig has pushed its way into the #5 spot, that means the competition to be among the Top 10 firms is even more fierce. Really no place is the competition more intense than for spots #6-10. The Rubin Group is right there at #11 with only $24K less in compensation than Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney (which vaulted from #25 to #10 from 2015-Q1 to 2015-Q2). And it stands to reason that Bill Rubin’s firm is in the the Top 10 overall because it does so well with executive branch compensation.
— Pound-for-pound champs? Some firms have more associates than an NFL teams, while others are like great boxers, meaning pound-for-pound they truly pack a punch. This includes Johnson & Blanton at #9 with just four lobbyists on its roster and The Mayernick Group at #19 with a three-lobbyist team. J&B just might be the pound-for-pound champ of Adams Street.
— Who is on the Top 25 list that wasn’t this time last year? Trey Traviesa’s Strategies Public Affairs (#13), Gunter Yoakley & Stewart (#22) Rhett ODoski’s Advantage Consulting (#25)
— Biggest gainers: Among the non-Top 4 firms posting the biggest compensation increases year-over-year are Greenberg Traurig (+$710K), Corcoran & Johnston (+484K), BIR (+408K), Metz Husband & Daughton (+170K)
— Firms on the rise, even if the numbers don’t show it: Sometimes the numbers don’t tell the whole story, but being a sort-of-professional-analyst of the governmental affairs industry in Florida, here are a couple of firms in or near the Top 25 to keep an eye on: The policy wizards at Anfield Consulting (#18) and The Fiorentino Group (#21) whose name partner, Marty Fiorentino, is very close to Lenny Curry, the new mayor of Jacksonville.