Lobbying compensation: Solo shops show solid earnings in 2020
State Capitol Building in Tallahassee, Florida

State Capitol Building in Tallahassee
Who says it’s dangerous to go alone?

Some say teamwork makes the dream work, or that strength lies in numbers.

Those aren’t necessarily banalities, but there’s no shortage of evidence to the contrary either. Simply put, going solo has its strengths — would anyone trade All Things Must Pass, Imagine, and Band on the Run just to spin Sgt. Pepper’s one more time?

The same goes in the lobbying world, where sole proprietors prove, year after year, that it doesn’t take a big team to strike it big.

Here’s a rundown of the solo shops that weathered 2020 without missing a beat, but first a preface:

Lobbyists report their pay from each client in ranges covering $10,000 increments. Florida Politics uses the middle number in each range to estimate total revenue for the quarter. Our annual earnings estimates represent the sum of those quarterly totals.

Doug Bruce and Associates

Doug Bruce collected at least $400,000 in lobbying fees last year and could have netted as much as $640,000.

The solo shop handled just seven clients in 2020, but a pair of them sent major league payments.

Bruce pulled down $175,000 in fees from CEMEX Construction Materials Florida — $110,000 in the Legislature and $65,000 in the executive. White Rock Quarries wasn’t far behind. It paid $100,000 for legislative lobbying and $50,000 for executive lobbying.

Other clients on the list: Osceola Legislative Effort ($90,000), Association of Support Coordination Agencies ($35,000), Duke Energy Florida ($30,000) and Southeast Overtown Park West ($10,000).

Bruce also represented Materials Lifecycle Management Company, Omni Redevelopment and the Suwannee River Chamber of Commerce, though the reports list those contracts as unpaid.

ML Bowen Advisors

Marsha Bowen notched an estimated $65,000 last year, though she could have pulled in double that.

Legislative lobbying was Bowen’s moneymaker. Those reports showed $60,000 in earnings, half of it from law firm Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson.

The Florida Association of Professional Process Servers and Professional Wrecker Operators of Florida followed at the $10,000 level while Baptist Health South Florida and the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind chipped in $5,000 apiece.

Bowen’s executive reports feature one paid contract — $5,000 from Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson.

At the top end, Bowen could have earned $120,000.

Capitol Advocates

Capitol Advocates, the solo shop founded by Chip Case, netted $130,000 in lobbying pay last year, with all but $15,000 of that earned in the Legislature.

Case had represented seven clients for all or part of last year. The year-end ledger shows Darwin Global and Liberty Wilderness tied for the top spot with $30,000 over the course of 2020.

Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association followed at the $25,000 level, while Axiom and the University of West Florida Foundation each paid $15,000 for Case to advance their cause in the House and Senate.

His client roster also featured the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network at $10,000 and the American Houndsmen Federation at $5,000.

At the top end, Case could have earned $180,000 last year.

Capitol Solutions

Fueled by a deep roster of county and municipal clients, Patrick Bell’s lone-wolf firm topped $500,000 last year.

The earnings breakdown shows Bell racked up $325,000 in pay across his 13 legislative branch clients, with another $265,000 earned from a nearly identical client list in the executive.

Sumter County was his top contract by a mile. The Central Florida county paid $60,000 for help in the Legislature and tacked on another $50,000 for Bell to ply the Governor and Cabinet. His next-largest contract was a $50,000 deal inked with Chipola College.

The rest of the list were at the $40,000 level, and each split their payments 50-50 between the two branches. They include the Calhoun County School Board, Liberty County School Board, Calhoun-Liberty Hospital, the Southern Waste Exchange, Suncoast Caring Community, the Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers and the city governments for Belleview, Blountstown, Chattahoochee, Marianna and Apalachicola.

At the low end, Case banked $350,000 in 2020, though he could have cleared $750,000.

Jordan Connors Group

Jordan Connors represented eight clients and netted an estimated $140,000 in fees last year.

Most of his earnings came from municipal clients, with the City of Stuart leading the way at the $60,000 level. Connors also represented the cities of Pahokee and South Bay, both of which paid $20,000 for his services last year.

Connors’ other two paid contracts were with MTC Management & Training Corporation and Villages of Hope of Palm Beach County. Both paid $20,000.

The Place of Hope, Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies and WBF Florida Properties III were also listed on Connors’ client sheet as unpaid contracts.

Connors’ earnings were all listed on his legislative reports. At the top end, he could have earned $200,000.

Flack and Associates

Deborah Flack listed just two lobbying contracts on her reports, but they were sizable ones.

Her legislative reports show $45,000 in receipts, all from the Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association, an organization focused on combating the causes and side effects of beach erosion.

The advocacy group, founded in 1957, also turns to Flack for help in the executive branch, where it also paid $45,000 for her services.

The executive report also lists the Garcia Family Farm, 15,000-acre working farm operation in Hendry County that outputs a variety of produce but is best known for its oranges and grapefruits. It paid Flack $60,000 for help in the executive.

Combined, Flack’s reports show an even $150,000 in pay, though she may have earned as much as $180,000 for the year.

GMA

Wallace Gene McGee earned an estimated $500,000 last year, with an even split between his legislative and executive incomes.

McGee’s 2020 earnings were fueled by nine clients, all of which retained him to lobby the Legislature, as well as the Governor and Cabinet.

AmeriHealth Caritas Health Plan and PCI Gaming tied for the No. 1 spot on his year-end report, with each paying the solo lobbyist $120,000 last year.

A half dozen others paid McGee a combined $40,000 each: Citrus County School Board, Duke Energy, Florida Internet & Television, Greyhound Lines, LifeStream Behavioral Center, SeaWorld.

McGhee also repped the Citrus County Board of County Commissioners, which paid $10,000 for legislative lobbying and the same amount for executive lobbying.

Range reporting may undersell McGhee’s earnings for the year. According to overall ranges listed on his quarterly reports, he earned no less than $500,000 — the same as the sum of his per-client averages. At the top end, he could have earned $840,000.

Paul Hawkes

Paul Hawkes handled nine clients for all or part of last year, tallying an estimated $200,000 in lobbying revenue.

The year-end totals reflect a $105,000 haul in the Legislature, where he had eight paid contracts. He amassed the balance, $95,000, representing seven clients in the executive branch.

His top clients for the year were the Dixie County School Board and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, both of which paid Hawkes $20,000 for legislative lobbying and the same amount for executive  lobbying.

The Conference of County Court Judges was $5,000 behind the frontrunners, while the Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges hit the $25,000-mark.

The rest of the list: Amplify Education ($20,000), Marsy’s Law for All ($20,000), UF Health Jax ($15,000) and Florida Greyhound Association ($5,000).

Hawkes could have earned as much as $200,000 lobbying the Legislature and $180,000 lobbying the Governor and Cabinet for an overall haul of $380,000.

Jacobs & Associates

Arthur Jacobs only operates in the Legislature, and his client sheet is three lines long. Still, his 2020 haul hit — and likely passed — the $220,000-mark.

His top client last year was the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, which account $140,000 of his total haul.

Following FPAA was the Fernandina Beach City Commission. It checked in with $15,000 each quarter, for total pay of $60,000. The South Amelia Island Shore Stabilization Association chipped in the final $20,000 to round out the list.

Quarterly pay ranges indicate Jacobs collected no less than $200,000 in fees last year, with an upper limit of $280,000.

The Labrador Company

Brecht Heuchan’s one-man show cracked the half-million mark last year, drawing down $330,000 in the Legislature and $185,000 in the executive.

The Labrador Company managed the haul across just eight clients, buoyed by the Florida Justice Association, which checked in at $100,000 even. The Richman Group of Florida took the No. 2 spot with $65,000 in pay — 45,000 for executive lobbying and $15,000 for legislative lobbying.

The bulk of his contracts chipped in $60,000 across both branches. They included medical cannabis company Trulieve, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, the Waterford Institute, Wilkes & McHugh and Parsons Transportation Group.

Heuchan also received $50,000 in retainers from the Florida Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants, all of it for executive branch lobbying.

The bottom lines from Heuchan’s quarterly reports show he collected at least $300,000 in lobbying fees last year. He could have earned as much as $700,000.

GA McKeown & Associates

Georgia McKeown repped more than a dozen clients on both sides of the Capitol complex, racking up $190,000 in legislative pay and another $220,000 in the executive.

Her year was helped along by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, which sent her $55,000 in retainers, as the cities of Deltona and Oak Hill, which raised her bottom line by a combined $100,000.

A trio of principals hit the $35,000-mark — Family Support Services of North Florida, Phoenix House of Florida, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. The Self-Reliance Center for Independent Living and the Center for Independent Living each chipped in $30,000.

The rest of the list: Elite Continuing Education ($25,000), Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living ($20,000), Center for Independent Living of Broward ($5,000) and Elite Professional Education ($5,000).

At the low end, McKeown collected $100,000 in lobbying pay, though she may have earned as much as $500,000.

Lisa Miller and Associates

Lisa Miller earned an estimated $225,000 lobbying the legislature and $215,000 lobbying the executive branch. The $440,000 haul came in across 10 clients.

The biggest of the bunch was the American Integrity Insurance Group, which sent her $90,000 to lobby the Legislature. Adjusters International took the No. 2 spot with $60,000 in executive branch pay.

A half-dozen others appeared at the $40,000 level, split 50-50 between her legislative and executive reports. The list: AECOM, Guy Carpenter & Company, Heritage Insurance, Medtronic Neuromodulation, Security First Managers and SkyeTec.

Rounding out the set were AIR Worldwide Corporation ($20,000) Paul Davis Restoration ($20,000) and Everbridge ($10,000).

Miller earned no less than $350,000 last year and could have earned as much as $750,000.

Moore Relations

Travis Moore represented eight clients through his solo shop last year and earned an estimated $240,000 for his efforts, with $200,000 of that marked down for legislative lobbying.

The Community Associations Institute was his most lucrative contract, paying out $60,000 for the year — a consistent $15,000 a quarter — all of it for help in the Legislature.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund and Defenders of Wildlife shared the No. 2 spot. Both clients paid Moore $40,000 last year, split 50-50 between his legislative and executive branch reports.

His other clients: Risk Management Professionals’ Group ($35,000), First Service Residential Florida ($30,000), Oceana ($15,000), Florida Property Taxpayers’ Association ($10,000) and Ocean Hammock Property Owners Association ($10,000).

Moore’s reports show he earned no less than $100,000 last year, though he could have earned as much as $380,000.

Mountain Moving Strategies

Ralph Arza piloted his shop to a nearly seven-figure haul last year, and he may have far surpassed that milestone — a rarity for solo ventures.

Reports peg his earnings at $945,000, with a near even split between the branches.

His legislative reports featured seven clients that paid him a combined $460,000. Five of them plunked down $70,000 apiece — Carnegie Learning, Dialyze Direct FL, EdisonLearning, the Florida Charter School Alliance and QuaverMusic.Com.

The same set anted up the same amount for Arza’s help lobbying the Governor and Cabinet.

Antigua College International netted Arza another $120,000 while B&H Foto & Electronics sent him $100,000 in retainers. Both clients were split evenly between the legislative and executive.

An eighth client, Public School Property Development, tapped Arza for help in the executive. The contract registered at $25,000.

In all, Mountain Moving Strategies tallied $460,000 in legislative lobbying pay and $485,000 in executive lobbying pay. Firm-level ranges set Arza’s floor at $800,000 and his ceiling at $1.25 million.

Moyle Law Firm

Lobbyist Jon Moyle represented seven clients last year, netting him at least $600,000.

The split favored the Legislature at $340,000. The balance came in through executive branch lobbying.

Waste Management provided the biggest chunk of change, paying Moyle $140,000 to influence Reps and Senators and the same amount to lobby the Governor and Cabinet.

No other client came close, though the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County did hit the $100,000-mark split 60/40, advantage Legislature.

Moyle’s other clients: Florida Industrial Powers Users Group ($60,000), Florida Inland Navigation District ($40,000), Florida State University School Board of Directors ($40,000), Woodbury Health Products ($40,000) and Wheelabrator Technologies Holdings ($20,000).

The overall ranges in Moyle’s reports show he earned at least $400,000 lobbying the Legislature and no less than $200,000 lobbying the executive branch. At the top end, he could have raked in $840,000

Screven Watson & Associates

Screven Watson earned an estimated $555,000 last year, with the bulk of it earned for his legwork in the Legislature.

Though a small shop, Watson’s reports are stocked with big names. Among them: U.S. Sugar, Comcast, the Florida Medical Association, Florida Power & Light and the Seminole Tribe of Florida,

His keystone client was U.S. Sugar. The company cut him checks totaling $160,000 last year, with all but $20,000 of it for help in the Legislature. Comcast, FMA, FPL and the Seminoles each checked in with $15,000 a quarter, or $60,000 for the year.

Watson also pulled down $40,000 representing the City of Clewiston, where U.S. Sugar is HQ’d. The Village of Wellington paid the same amount.

His report was rounded out with a quartet of $20,000 contracts. The list: ALM Media, Florida Professional Firefighters, Watershed Technologies and Robert Reynolds & Associates.

Watson’s firm-level ranges show he banked at least $400,000 last year. His upper limit was $820,000.

Drew Wilson

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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