Despite the legislative session beginning during the first part of the year, at least four lobbying firms still collected more than $1 million in fees during the second quarter of the year, well after session had ended.
Another eleven lobbyists or lobbying firms billed $500,000 to $1 million in fees. Thirteen more brought in a quarter-million to a half-million dollars in lobbying revenue from April through June.
The four firms that topped $1 million were Ballard Partners, GrayRobinson, Ronald L. Book PA and Southern Strategy Group. The reports don’t give the exact totals collected by the firms, but they detail some of the largest payments made by clients.
Ballard Partners, for example, collected $79,000 from Automated HealthCare Solutions Inc., a technology company that opposed bills aimed at limiting how much doctors can charge for dispensing drugs to workers-compensation insurance patients. The bills ultimately died.
Book’s best paying client during the second quarter was the West Flagler Kennel Club, a pari-mutuel that was involved in a fierce debate about whether lawmakers should allow up to three resort casinos in the state. The casino proposals failed to pass the House or Senate.
Book offered some insight into the economics of lobbying, “We’re over there all the time, not just working on bills but on rule-making issues,” Book said in an interview with the Florida Current’s Bill Cotterell. “We’ve got all the issues relative to delivery of health care that are a year-round kind of thing. We’ve got to stay on top of it as the governor and agencies are working on the budgets.”
With reports still being filed Wednesday, it is too early to compare lobbyist compensation during the first quarter with the same period in previous years. But a once-a-decade redistricting process caused the 2012 session to begin in January and end in March, squeezing it all into the year’s first quarter — unlike typical years when the session starts in March and ends in early May.
The reports list the clients represented by lobbying firms and give broad ranges of the total amounts of money that firms collect. The eleven firms that reported receiving between $500,000 and $999,999 were Capital City Consulting LLC, Colodny Fass Talenfeld Karlinsky & Abate PA, Corcoran & Johnston, Dutko Worldwide, Floridian Partners, Foley & Lardner, Fowler White Boggs PA, Johnson & Blanton, The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners, The Rubin Group, and Tsamoutales Strategies.
The thirteen firms that reported receiving between $250,000 and $499,999 were Advantage Consulting Team, Akerman Senterfitt, Anfield Consulting, Becker & Poliakoff PA, Greenberg Traurig PA, Gunster Yoakley & Stewart PA, Larry J. Overton & Associates Inc., Metz Husband & Daughton PA, Pennington Moore Wilkinson Bell & Dunbar PA, Pittman Law Group PL, Prieguez & Weems LLC, Smith Bryan & Myers Inc., Spearman Management Inc., The Mayernick Group LLC, and William J. Peebles Attorney at Law.