The first quarter of 2014 is the beginning of lobbyist compensation reporting under the new guidelines promulgated by the Legislature. The new rules expressly prohibit double counting client fees; that is, assigning the full fee to both the legislative and executive branches. This is going to be a big kicker for those lobbyists who have been able to inflate the appearance of their compensation by double reporting.
But for Southern Strategy Group, the change is no big deal. That’s because these new guidelines represent exactly how they’ve done things all along.
Rather than see a dip between the 4th quarter of 2013 and the 1st of this new year, SSG showed an increase in both client load and total compensation.
In the first quarter of 2014, SSG had 26 lobbyists registered for 207 clients at the state level — a 29 percent increase in client size compared with the first quarter of 2013.
Looking at the high-range total fee disclosures, SSG brought in $4,559,697 this past quarter — an 18 percent increase over total fees disclosed by SSG in the first quarter of 2013.
The firm has seen substantial growth in its overall lobbying practice. Over the past months, SSG has merged with the firm Fearington & Smith, and also hired Jerry McDaniel, budget chief to the past two governors.
“In an increasingly difficult lobbying environment, sophisticated clients are beginning to appreciate the value of a powerful advocacy team that can simultaneously cover every facet of state government,” said SSG president and founder Paul Bradshaw. “Clients understand that government is huge and complex, and that if you’re going to fight a war, it helps to bring an army. SSG provides that army.”
The firm has five offices in Florida, and many more in other states, too.
In sum, SSG has increased its registered principal volume by 16 percent since the fourth quarter of 2013, and by 29 percent since this time last year.