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The results are in: lobbying firms randomly selected for audits

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Fifteen legislative lobbying firms and 12 executive-branch lobbying firms were randomly selected Thursday for audits of their 2015 compensation reports.

This is the second time under a 2005 state law that lobbying firms were subject to random audits.

Here is the list of legislative firms, in the order they were picked:

  • C.B. Myers III
  • Cerra Consulting
  • David A. Konuch
  • DLA Consulting
  • Akerman LLP
  • Avera & Smith
  • Topsail Public Affairs
  • Becker & Poliakoff
  • The Mathis Group
  • Gate Way Group
  • The Mitchell Group
  • Mark Hendrickson
  • Sustainable Beaches
  • Curva and Associates
  • Acclaim Strategies

A list of alternates also was selected:

  • Lawrence A. Gonzalez
  • Danielle Alexandre
  • Applied Aquaculture
  • Elisabeth Kiel Consulting
  • The Commerce Group
  • Harrison Rivard Duncan & Buzzett, Chartered
  • Asztalos and Associates
  • Horton and Associates
  • Bascom Communications and Consulting
  • Civility Management
  • Carr Allison
  • Mike Rogers
  • Robert R. Reynolds & Associates
  • Technology Advocates
  • Uhlfelder & Associates

Here is the list of executive-branch firms, in the order they were picked:

  • Frank Meiners Governmental Consultants
  • Brenda Dickinson
  • Young van Assenderp & Qualls
  • Singleton Consulting
  • M&G Investment Management, Ltd.
  • Johnson Strategies
  • Capitol Group Inc.
  • Sayfie Law Firm
  • Shutts and Bowen
  • Kathy Till & Associates
  • DDarling Consulting
  • The Commerce Group

And the alternates:

  • The Labrador Co.
  • Boscan & Associates
  • Alcalde & Fay
  • Capitol Solutions
  • Peebles & Smith
  • Kirk Consulting Group
  • Rayborn Consultants
  • Safley Group
  • Paul A. Zeigler
  • Strategic Access Group
  • ML Bowen Advisors
  • Carr Allison

Lawmakers required that 3 percent of firms registered to lobby in the state would be picked at random.

State law requires quarterly reports of money taken in, but only mandates disclosure of general ranges, not exact amounts. It also doesn’t require a breakdown of how much individual clients paid.

It was part of an overall “gift ban” package, banning registered lobbyists from plying lawmakers with meals, booze or anything else of value.

But the state law requires only that lobbying firms report compensation in ranges rather than exact figures, so it’s nearly impossible to know precisely how much is spent on lobbying.

Whether numbers are known precisely or in wide approximations, critics have said reporting income causes a kind of competition between lobbying houses, in which making more money is seen as a measure of better lobbying.

About $121,000 was spent to do the audits, not including staff time, a committee report said.

Completed audits could be ready by the end of June. More than $200 million a year is spent trying to influence state policy creation, according to estimates.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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