Tampa-based lobby firms prospering in Tallahassee, compensation reports show

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Tampa Bay is 274 miles from Tallahassee. But that doesn’t stop some notable firms from closing the effective gap in that distance each legislative session, if not daily.

Louis Betz hasn’t earned the moniker “Mr. Tampa” for nothing.  During the second quarter of 2013, he brought in up to $159,987 from 18 clients — most of whom are based in or do considerable work in the Bay Area.  Betz represented the Tampa Taxi Coalition, the City of Temple Terrace, MOSI, the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Lowry Park Zoo, Circulo Cubano of Tampa, Dolphin Pointe Landing, and others, before the legislature and executive agencies.

Then there’s the RSA Consulting Group, based in Brandon. Lobbyists Natalie King and Ron Pierce collected as much as $229,983 from 20 legislative lobbying clients and as much as $219,984 from executive lobbying interests this quarter.  Among these clients are various Bay Area groups including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Partnership, the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Bay Lightning, the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa Family Health Centers, Tampa Port Authority, and Tampa Bay Storm.

Finally, take Travis Moore, the Largo-based lobbyist who represents the Corn Refiners Association before Florida’s executive agencies, to a tune of up to $19,999 this quarter, and before Florida’s Legislature, for as much as another $19,999.  Moore also represents various other Tampa-area groups before the Legislature: Apopka’s Community Association’s Institute; the Defenders of Wildlife, based in St. Pete; Florida Homeowners for Fair Treatment, based in Tierra Verde; Risk Management Professionals Group, in Clearwater; and the Specialty Agents Association, based in Tampa.  Together, these groups compensated Moore as much as $49,999 this quarter.

Each quarter, lobbyists who are registered to represent clients before Florida’s legislature or executive branch must submit reports detailing their client roster and compensation ranges.  This week, reports are due for the period spanning April 1 through June 30, 2013 and reflect the year-round work that these firms do in representing interests that span every industry sector.

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.