Lobbying compensation: Mid-major firms fared well during first quarter
Image via Colin Hackley.

Here’s a rundown of how the rest of the firms in the Top 15 fared in the first quarter.

The state’s biggest lobbying firms may be scooping up $2 million-plus every quarter, but there’s still plenty of work to go around for the rest of the lobby corps.

In fact, many of the firms lingering just outside the Top 6 are putting up numbers that could go toe-to-toe with the bluebloods if team size is considered.

Here’s a rundown of how the rest of the firms in the Top 15 fared in the first quarter.

But first, a primer.

Florida Politics estimates how much firms earn based on the middle number of the per-client ranges they list on their compensation reports. Contracts are reported in $10,000 increments. Compensation reports also include firm-level ranges, which can give outsiders a rough idea of their minimum and maximum earnings.

First-quarter reports were due May 15. Second-quarter compensation reports are due to the state on Aug. 14.

Corcoran Partners

Michael Corcoran and the team at Corcoran Partners earned nearly $1.5 million in the first quarter, largely on the back of an estimated $943,000 in legislative lobbying pay.

In addition to Michael Corcoran, the firm’s Q1 lobbying team included Jacqueline Corcoran, Matt Blair, Ralph Criss, Will Rodriguez and Andrea Tovar. Collectively, they represented more than 80 clients.

The firm’s legislative lobbying report was topped by South Florida developer Fontainebleau Development, which paid $68,000 in retainers across the first three months of the year. The Florida Optometric Association was No. 2 with $45,000 and The Big Easy Casino rounded out the top-3 with $35,000 in pay.

Another nine clients chipped in at the $25,000 level followed by more than two-dozen at the $15,000 level. A flood of $5,000 contracts capped off the report.

Among the majors on the list were Florida Crystals Corporation, Verizon, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola Florida. The firm also reps L3Harris, which scored a major win in the budget by landing the contract to build out and maintain the Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System.

The firm’s executive report showed another $500,000 in earnings. It included a mostly similar list of clients and top-paying client on that sheet was once again Fontainebleau Development, which matched its legislative sum. At $136,000 in pay for the quarter, the company was the firm’s top client overall by a wide margin.

Corcoran Partners reported overall earnings of $500,000 to $1 million in the Legislature and $250,000 to $500,000 in the executive branch.

Rubin, Turnbull & Associates

The firm led by Bill Rubin and Heather Turnbull earned no less than $1 million last quarter.

Rubin, Turnbull & Associates reported earning between $500,000 and $1 million on it’s legislative and executive reports, or $1 million to $2 million overall. Median estimates place the firm near the upper limits of that range.

In addition to the named partners, the Q1 effort was made possible by lobbyists Melissa Akeson, Jacqueline Carmona, Erica Chanti, Jodi Davidson, Christopher Finkbeiner, and Matthew Sacco.

The executive report was the larger of the two — an uncommon occurrence among major firms. Median estimates indicate that side of the ledger accounted for $1 million in pay alone.

Sitting at the top were Gotham Green Partners and Independent Living Systems, both of which paid $60,000 for the quarter. HCA Healthcare also broke the range reporting cap with a $56,000 check.

The 81-client list also included four $35,000 contracts, five $25,000 contracts and another 30 at the $15,000 level. The report wound down with a few dozen $5,000 clients.

Many of the names on the list would be recognizable even outside of the Capitol Complex — Aetna, Charter Communications, Motorola Solutions, Deloitte, Southwest Airlines and the University of Miami have all inked deals with Rubin Turnbull.

The firm also reps Carnival Corporation, one the world’s largest cruise lines. Though they’ve had a tough year due to the long-standing federal no-sail order, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The Governor and Attorney General are sympathetic to their plight, too.

Rubin Turnbull pulled in another $871,000 in the Legislature. On that report it was HCA in pole position with another $56,000 check. The hospital chain goes down as the firm’s No. 1 client for the quarter as neither Gotham Green Partners nor Independent Living Systems showed up on the legislative report. Otherwise, the list was the same.

Smith Bryan & Myers

The seven-person team at Smith Bryan & Myers netted an estimated $1.3 million during the reporting period.

Matt Bryan, David Daniel, Thomas Griffin, Jeff Hartley, Lisa Hurley, Jim Naff and Teye Reeves pulled in $775,000 of the quarterly haul in the Legislature.

The report showed 86 contracts with the Osceola Legislative Effort leading the way at $35,000. A quartet of $25,000 contracts followed with the bulk of the earnings coming in through clients in the $10,000-to-$20,000 pay range.

The client roster spanned several industries. Health care interests include Corizon, Employer Direct Healthcare and the Florida Hospital Association. The College Board and the University of Florida Foundation anchored SBM’s education lineup. Gaming made a showing by way of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association. The firm also repped a slew of local governments, such as Alachua County and the cities of Naples, Palatka and Pembroke Pines.

SBM’s executive branch report weighed in at $525,000. At the top of that report were 15 clients in the $15,000 bracket. Another 60-plus showed chipped in $5,000 apiece.

At the top end, Smith Bryan & Myers could have earned as much as $1.9 million last quarter. At minimum, the firm earned $1 million.

The Advocacy Group

Al Cardenas and the team at The Advocacy Group showed nearly $1.5 million in earnings across first-quarter reports.

In addition to Cardenas the Q1 lobbying team included Slater Bayliss, Christopher Chaney, Steve Schale, Stephen Shiver, Sarah Suskey and Jeffrey Woodburn. They juggled more than 90 contracts last quarter and reported a fairly even split between the Legislature and executive branch — they earned $715,000 in the former and $745,000 in the latter.

Five clients tied for the top spot on TAG’s executive report: FocusPoint International, H4 Capital Partners, Paylt, Plexos Group and the Tidal Basin Group. Each chipped in $35,000. The Association of Early Learning Coalitions and Centennial Management Corp. followed at the $25,000 level. Another 70 or so clients cut checks for TAG’s assistance lobbying the Governor and Cabinet.

The legislative side featured a three-way tie at the top — Benefytt Technologies, Lloyd’s America and the Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts each cut checks for $35,000 in Q1.

The firm’s client roster featured several national brands. Among the biggest were Disney, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, IBM, Instacart, JetBlue and Marriott. The reports also featured some of the biggest powerhouses in the utility industry, such as Duke Energy, TECO and Peoples Gas System.

Both reports fell in the $500,000 to $1 million range, meaning the firm earned at least $1 million in Q1. If each contract maxed out, the firm could have hit that $2 million upper limit.

Johnson & Blanton

It was another million-dollar quarter for Johnson & Blanton.

The half-dozen lobbyists led by Jon Johnson and Travis Blanton represented 75 clients in Q1, racking up $675,000 in legislative pay and banking another $435,000 in the executive branch.

In addition to the named partners, Team J&B includes Diane Wagner Carr, Darrick McGhee and Eric Prutsman.

Legislative reports list Advent Health and the Florida Hospital Association as the top clients of the quarter. Both contracts netted the firm $35,000 in pay. Bay Care and the Florida Engineering Society followed at the $25,000 level.

Advent Health and the Florida Hospital Association also led off the executive report. Each sent the firm another $25,000 to lobby the Governor and Cabinet. At $60,000 a piece, they were the most lucrative clients overall.

Johnson & Blanton is one of the top lobbying firms for health care interests. The client sheet is brimming with hospitals, insurance companies, medical trade associations and pharmaceutical companies. The bulk of them paid $15,000 for legislative lobbying work last quarter.

Perhaps the best-known client on their list is Pfizer, which has had its name printed alongside BioNTech’s on tens of millions of vaccine doses that have gone into arms over the past six months.

Overall, Johnson & Blanton reported earnings between $500,000 and $1 million in the Legislature and between $250,000 and $500,000 in the executive branch. As the ranges infer, Team J&B earned at least $750,000 and could have topped out at $1.5 million.

Floridian Partners

Nearly $1.1 million flowed into Floridian Partners coffers last quarter, new compensation reports show.

The seven-person firm posted median earnings of $640,000 in the Legislature and $435,000 in the executive branch, putting them just $25,000 shy of the mark.

Jorge Chamizo, Charlie Dudley, George Feijoo, Nichole Geary, Cory Guzzo, Gary Guzzo and Melissa Ramba made up the Q1 lobbying roster.

The team represented 69 clients in the Legislature. The most lucrative contracts of the bunch were with Florida Internet & Television and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which just landed a major coup by way of a new 30-year Gaming Compact that would — if it survives federal review and court challenges — put them in charge of sports betting statewide, among other things.

Each paid Floridian Partners $35,000 for legislative lobbying help in Q1. The American Fair Credit Council, Florida Gulf Coast University and the Florida Insurance Council followed at the $25,000 level.

Some notable names further down the sheet: Anheuser-Busch, Anthem, Associated Industries of Florida, HP, Liberty Mutual and Uber. The entire set was marked down in the $15,000 range.

Centene Corporation and MAXIMUS were the firm’s lead clients in the executive branch. They showed up in the $35,000 range. The National Council on Compensation Insurance was the lone $25,000 client on the report. The ledger was capped off by many of the same $5,000 and $15,000 clients from the legislative report.

Floridian Partners’ overall earnings landed somewhere between $500,000 and $1 million in the Legislature and $250,000 and $500,000 in the executive branch. Earnings could have hit $1.5 million.

The Mayernick Group

The Mayernick Group entered the top-15 with an estimated $715,000 haul in the first quarter.

The firm showed the bulk of its earnings on its legislative compensation report. It lists 48 clients which paid a combined $615,000.

The trio of Frank Mayernick, Tracy Mayernick,and Rob Johnson also notched an estimated $100,000 in the executive branch.

The lead client in the legislature was State Farm, which paid $45,000 in retainers between New Year’s and the end of March. Americans for Patient Access accounted for $35,000.

The Mayernick Group also reported a half-dozen $25,000 contracts. The list: Alkermes, Citrus Health Network, the Florida Medical Association, the Florida State University Foundation, HCA Healthcare and Personal Enrichment through Mental Health Services (PEMHS). AT&T, bestbet Jacksonville, Florida Power & Light Company and U.S. Sugar were among their $15,000 clients.

On the executive side, FFT Partners paid $15,000. Every other paid contract netted the firm $5,000.

Firm-level ranges show The Mayernick Group earned between $500,000 and $1 million in the Legislature. Overall executive branch earnings landed somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000.

Staff Reports


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