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

Here’s a rundown of how some Top 25 fared in the third 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 some of the rest of the firms in the Top 25 fared in the third 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.

Florida lobbyists and lobbying firms faced a Nov. 14 deadline to file compensation reports for the period covering July 1 through Sept. 30. Compensation reports for the fourth quarter are due to the state on Feb. 14.

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

The Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney team includes Brett Bacot, Marnie George, Mike Grissom, Michael Harrell, Mark Kruse, Jim Magill and Kimberly McGlynn. They juggled the needs of 42 clients in Q3, earning an estimated $527,000.

About two-thirds of the haul was marked down as legislative lobbying fees while the remainder, $190,000, was earned in the executive branch.

The Palm Beach County Tax Collector was their biggest contract by a mile — it paid the firm a whopping $142,000 in retainers for legislative lobbying work. It was also the firm’s No. 1 executive client, showing up at the $35,000 level.

The No. 2 spot on the legislative report goes to the University Medical Service Association, which paid $25,000 last quarter plus another $5,000 for executive work. Still, several other contracts worked out to $30,000 when both reports are considered.

Among those were Ygrene Energy Fund, one of the major proffers of Property Assessed Clean Energy upgrades. Ygrene — the name is energy spelled backward — offers financing that allows consumers to pay back the cost of home improvements such as solar panels or storm hardening upgrades through assessments on their property tax bill.

Universal Orlando is perhaps the best-known client in the firm’s portfolio. Though the theme park giant had a rough go in 2020 when the pandemic forced it to shut down for months, it has bounced back in a big way — the company just saw its most profitable quarter ever.

The bottom line of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s reports show earnings between $250,000 and $500,000 in the Legislature and $100,000 and $250,000 in the executive branch. If each client maxed out in their reported range, the firm could have earned as much as $690,000 last quarter.

Colodny Fass

Colodny Fass earned an estimated $450,000 in lobbying pay last quarter.

Led by Governmental Consulting Division manager Katie Webb and named partner Michael Colodny, the Q3 lobbying team included Leonard Billmeier, Sandy Fay, Amanda Fraser, Claude Mueller, David Santiago and Nate Strickland.

The firm’s reports list about three-dozen clients, which paid them an estimated $250,000 for legislative lobbying and another $200,000 for executive branch lobbying.

The legislative lobbying report shows Florida Peninsula Insurance Company and Southern Fidelity Insurance Company sharing the top spot, with each paying $35,000 for the quarter.

The insurance and health care industries were prevalent in the report, which also lists HCA Healthcare, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, the Florida Property & Casualty Association, People’s Trust Insurance Company and others.

Colodny Fass had clients beyond those sectors, however. Notables include Disney and Uber, both of which paid the firm $20,000 during the third quarter.

The firm also collected $15,000 from Trulieve, which last month became the largest legal cannabis company in the nation after it finalized its purchase of Harvest Health & Recreation for $2.2 billion. The Tallahassee-based company also recently opened its 100th storefront in the Sunshine State.

The overall ranges listed on Colodny Fass’ reports indicate its median earnings estimate may be on the low end. The firm reported earning between $250,000 and $500,000 in the Legislature and $100,000 to $250,000 in the executive branch.

If their clients topped out, Colodny Fass could have earned as much as $590,000 last quarter.

The Fiorentino Group

With the third quarter in the books, The Fiorentino Group is still on track to meet or beat the $2.6 million earnings total it posted last year.

Firm founder Marty Fiorentino and lobbyists Davis Bean, Melissa Braude, John Delaney, Joseph Mobley, Mark Pinto and Shannan Schuessler represented more than 60 clients during the reporting period, tallying $355,000 in legislative lobbying pay and another $330,000 in the executive branch.

The Fiorentino Group is one of the premier firms in Northeast Florida, a fact reflected in their client sheet, which includes many of the region’s top businesses and associations.

The leading client on the firm’s Q3 reports was Flagler Health+, a health care network anchored by Flagler Hospital, which has been lauded as one of “America’s 100 Best Hospitals.” It showed up with $70,000 in retainers, split evenly between the two reports.

The No. 2 spot was a tie between the Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers, UF Health Jacksonville and Crowley Maritime, a massive Jacksonville-based logistics and supply chain management company with a fleet of more than 300 ships. Both clients paid The Fiorentino Group $30,000 in Q3.

Other major Northeast Florida clients include Duval County Public Schools, the PGA Tour, Flagler College, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority and the Jacksonville Port Authority.

The firm does represent some national companies as well, the largest being AT&T.

Both of The Fiorentino Group’s reports list overall earnings of $250,000 to $500,000. Top-end estimates show they could have hit that mark, which would have made for a seven-figure quarter.

The Mayernick Group

The Mayernick Group charted with an estimated $600,000 earned last quarter.

Frank Mayernick, Tracy Mayernick and Rob Johnson collected $500,000 across their 45 clients in the Legislature and picked up another $100,000 from the three-dozen clients they represent in the executive branch.

Burrell Diversified Investments topped the legislative report with $35,000 in payments. It chipped in the same amount on the executive branch report, for a total of $70,000 last quarter.

Alkermes, Citrus Health Network, Florida State University and HCA Healthcare followed at the $25,000 level on the legislative report. Each tacked on another $5,000 for executive branch lobbying.

A score more chipped in $15,000 apiece for legislative work. Several familiar names were in that set, including Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Florida Power & Light Company and U.S. Sugar.

Gaming outlet bestbet Jacksonville was also among them. It is one of the potential beneficiaries of a proposed constitutional amendment to allow certain existing, North Florida parimutuel-based card rooms to move to bigger, better locations as full-service casinos.

The Mayernick Group also represents a cluster of major statewide associations, including the Florida Medical  Association, which represents physicians, and the Florida Health Care Association, which represents assisted living and long term care facilities.

FHCA was one of the major backers of COVID-19 liability protections for health care providers during the 2021 Legislative Session. Since the portion of the legislation that applies to health care facilities is scheduled to sunset at the end of March, the organization may find itself advocating for an extension in the Session that begins in January.

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.

Heffley & Associates

New reports from the duo at Heffley & Associates show they pulled in an estimated $445,000 last quarter.

Richard Heffley and Kelly Horton brought in $325,000 of the overall haul from their 31 legislative clients. The executive report featured the same set, adding $120,000.

The top client for the quarter was the Florida Medical Association, which showed up with $50,000 in payments overall — $35,000 in the Legislature and $15,000 in the executive.

There was a three-way tie for the No. 2 spot, with McGraw-Hill Global Education, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and Volkswagen Group of America each chipping in $30,000 overall, $25,000 of it for legislative lobbying.

Though Volkswagen accounted for only about one in 50 cars sold in the United States last year, the company has jockeyed with Toyota as the top car manufacturer worldwide for most of the past decade. The company also ranks as one of the top-10 largest companies in the world, with more than $250 billion in annual revenues and 662,000 employees.

A couple other massive companies are a little further down on Heffley & Associates’ client list. Chevron, the second-largest oil company and No. 67 largest public company in the world, paid the firm $20,000 last quarter. And AT&T, the largest telecommunications company in the world, chipped in the same amount.

The firm also represents DraftKings. The sports betting company is one of the key forces behind a proposed constitutional amendment that would expand sports betting in Florida. It and competing platform FanDuel have collectively poured $32.8 million into the Florida Education Champions, which is gathering signatures to put the proposed amendment on the 2022 ballot.

Heffley & Associates reported overall earnings between $250,000 and $500,000 in the Legislature and between $100,000 and $250,000 in the executive branch. Per-client ranges indicate the firm could have topped out with $710,000 in Q3 revenues.

RSA Consulting Group

The team at RSA Consulting Group pulled down $500,000 last quarter, with an even split between the legislative and executive branches.

Firm founder Ron Pierce and lobbyists Kaitlyn BaileyEdward Briggs and Natalie King represented 67 clients for all or part of the third-quarter.

The team got a boost in the final stretch with the addition of Melody Arnold, who left her position as Associate Director of Government Affairs at the Florida Medical Association in early September to become the Director of Government and Community Affairs at RSA.

RSA Consulting Group is based in the Tampa Bay-area and has many of the region’s top business interests locked down — two of their top three clients last quarter were the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority. They and the Florida Association of Community Health Centers paid the firm $30,000 during the July through September reporting period.

Other West Central Florida majors include Port Tampa Bay, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Tampa Bay Partnership, the Tampa Theatre and Visit Tampa Bay. Each chipped in $10,000 in Q3.

RSA also represents several statewide associations and national corporations, such as the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association and Florida Health Care Association as well as Uber and AdventHealth, which operates in nine states and ranks as one of the largest nonprofit health care providers in the country.

RSA’s reports each show earnings between $100,000 and $250,000 for the quarter, and per-client averages show they may have hit that cap. If so, the firm is on track to improve upon its 2020 haul, which came in at $1.7 million, or about $425,000 per quarter.

The firm also lobbied for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, the company behind a proposed high-speed rail that could cut the travel time between Tampa and Naples to a mere 15 minutes.

RSA’s reports show the firm earned at least $800,000 last year with an upper limit of $2 million.

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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