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Lobbying compensation: Ballard Partners still at the top with $5 million in Q3 pay

The Southern Group followed with $3.65 million for the quarter

Ballard Partners again led the pack in third-quarter lobbying pay.

The firm took in an estimated $2.7 million lobbying the Legislature and another $2.3 million lobbying the executive branch.

The $5 million haul is based on median estimates. At the top end, Ballard Partners could have earned as much as $6.8 million. At a minimum, the team tallied $3.65 million in receipts from its extensive client roster.

Those figures nearly match the firm’s second-quarter rake, despite the July through September reporting period covering the lull between the 2019 Legislative Session and the lead up to the 2020 Legislative Session.

It also continues Ballard’s reign as the top-earning lobbying firm in Florida. The shop founded by Brian Ballard has taken the No. 1 spot for all three quarters of 2019.

Likewise, The Southern Group — the new name for Southern Strategy Group — remains in the No. 2 position among all firms.

Its reports could have approached $2.5 million in the Legislature and $3 million in the executive branch, giving them an outside shot of edging ahead of Ballard Partners.

Lobbying firms report their pay in ranges, however, and median estimates show the firm earned around $3.65 million.

That’s on pace with Q2, when the firm notched $3.9 million overall.

Following with $3 million for the quarter was Capital City Consulting, which topped $1.8 million in legislative pay and tacked on another $1.1 million and change lobbying the Governor and Cabinet.

A top-dollar performance would have netted Nick Iarossi, Ron LaFace and the rest of the CCC team nearly $4.3 million.

Like the aforementioned firms, that’s only slightly behind their tallies from the first two quarters, each of which covered half of the 2019 Legislative Session.

Ron Book followed with a pair of reports that again show he, Rana Brown and Kelly Mallette earned more money per lobbyist than any other firm — and they did so by a mile.

As in past reports, the trio marked down the bulk of those earnings on their legislative compensation report. They earned the No. 2 spot on that side of Capitol complex, with more than $2 million in receipts. The executive branch report netted them another $365,000.

The trio could have maxed out at $3.1 million, with an earnings floor of $1.64 million.

Rounding out the Top 5 was Greenberg Traurig, which collected $2 million over the 90-day span. The split: $1.2 million in the Legislature and $845,000 in the executive. Its max was just shy of $3 million, with no less than $1.1 million for the quarter.

GrayRobinson may have been in the Top 5, depending on how their contract amounts shook out.

As it stands, the firm helmed by Dean Cannon reported median earnings of $1.8 million — $980,000 lobbying lawmakers and $835,000 lobbying statewide electeds — though their max earnings estimate of $3.04 million comes in a hair above the top-end figure for Greenberg Traurig.

At an absolute minimum, the firm pulled in $970,000.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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