Lobbying compensation: The Southern Group holds onto No. 1, CCC surges to No. 2

The Southern Group pulled in $5.4 million last quarter, growing its lead over other top firms.

The Southern Group was Florida’s top-earning lobbying firm for the second quarter in a row, according to new compensation reports covering April through June.

The Southern Group dethroned perennial No. 1 firm Ballard Partners in Q1 when it reported $5.1 million in overall pay to Ballard’s $4.2 million.

The Southern Group one-upped itself in the second quarter, posting a $5.4 million haul between its legislative and executive branch lobbying reports.

TSG Chair Paul Bradshaw and the firm’s two-dozen or so lobbyists showed $3.3 million in receipts in the Legislature, up from $3.2 million last quarter. Likewise, executive branch earnings grew from $1.9 million to $2.1 million. Top-end estimates indicate the firm could have earned as much as $7.8 million.

Lobbying firms report their earnings for each contract in ranges covering $10,000 increments up to $50,000, after which a firm must report the exact contract size. Florida Politics uses the middle number of each range to estimate quarterly earnings.

The earnings growth came from some new additions to the client roster and a few pay boosts from the clients it has retained. Notably, Altria Client Services bumped increased its contract from an estimated $35,000 per quarter to $53,000 per quarter.

Though the gap between The Southern Group and Ballard Partners grew in Q2, the latter firm still reported a quarter-to-quarter earnings increase. Still, it wasn’t enough to fend off a surging Capital City Consulting.

CCC reported significant gains last quarter, with legislative earnings nearing $2.4 million and executive earnings coming in just shy of $2.2 million — it was the top-earning firm in that metric.

The 12-person team led by Nick Iarossi and Ron LaFace earned $4.6 million overall, which is about $300,000 more than it managed in the first quarter. It may have earned as much as $6.2 million.

Capital City’s reports show five contracts that broke the $50,000 threshold on range reporting. The legislative report featured one, a $75,000 contract with the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists. The executive report lists Motorola Solutions at $113,000, LRA Consulting at $100,000, CDR Maguire at $98,000 and Dealer Services Network at $92,000.

Ballard Partners also reported just shy of $2.4 million in the Legislature — only $10,000 separated it and CCC — and brought in another $2 million in the executive branch. Overall, the firm led by Brian Ballard earned an estimated $4.4 million during the reporting period. At the top end, the firm could have earned as much as $6.1 million.

The firm represented more than 200 clients last quarter, two of which paid $90,000 for the firm’s help. Those clients were Automated Healthcare Solutions and the Investment Corporation of Palm Beach. Both clients showed up in the $40,000 to $50,000 pay range on the legislative report and repeated on the executive. Also in the running is Shands Teaching Hospital, which paid $83,000 for legislative lobbying work.

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.


One comment

  • Anna

    August 16, 2021 at 8:44 pm

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