Lobbying compensation: Smith Bryan & Myers tops $1.5M in Q1

The firm could have earned as much as $2M last quarter.

The team at Smith Bryan & Myers (SBM) earned an estimated $1.5 million in lobbying pay during the first three months of the year, new compensation reports.

Led by Matt Bryan, the firm’s roster includes Teye Carmichael, David DanielThomas GriffinJeff HartleyLisa Hurley and Jim Naff.

They represented 85 clients in the Legislature, where they earned $865,000. Their 85 executive branch contracts provided the remaining $635,000.

Florida Politics estimates lobbying pay based on the middle number of the per-client ranges firms list on their compensation reports. Contracts are reported in $10,000 increments up to $50,000.

The top of SBM’s legislative compensation report showed six clients that paid $25,000 apiece for the quarter.

The set included The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, which led the opposition to this year’s alimony reform bill. Though the bill (SB 1796) was ultimately approved by the Legislature, the Bar has been working to convince Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto it — they were successful in convincing his predecessor, now-U.S. Sen. Rick Scott to do so in 2013 and 2016.

Other clients at the same level included the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association, GLP FLA, Government Brands, JM Family Enterprises and the Palm Beach County Tax Collector.

Nearly three dozen other legislative lobbying contracts measured in at $15,000. Several of those companies hailed from the health care industry, including Corizon Health, Employer Direct Healthcare, the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthesiology, the Florida Health Care Association, the Florida Hospital Association, HS1 Medical Management, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Pediatric Associates and United Healthcare Services.

The 2022 Legislative Session was particularly kind to the Florida Health Care Association.

FHCA has long sought to “modernize” staffing requirements for long-term care facilities, and this year the Legislature assented. The new requirements (HB 1239/SB 804) will strike out a requirement that facilities provide residents with 3.6 hours of “nursing” care and instead require them to provide 3.6 hours of “direct care” to the resident. In addition to the policy change, the budget provides a 7.8% increase in Medicaid funding for long-term care facilities, which amounts to about $419,000 per care center.

Other notable clients at the $15,000 level last quarter included the National Football League, Publix and the University of Florida.

The remainder of SBM’s legislative contracts were worth an estimated $5,000 each. The set is diverse, ranging from nonprofits such as Farm Share and the Epilepsy Foundation of America to major corporations such as Duke Energy and Microsoft.

Smith Bryan & Myers’ executive branch report lists the same clients, though many paid a little less for help lobbying the Governor, Cabinet and state agencies.

The top contracts were DJI Technology, GLP FLA and the Palm Beach County Tax Collector. Each paid $25,000 for the quarter.

The reports show SBM collected between $500,000 and $1 million in legislative lobbying fees and another $500,000 to $1 million in executive lobbying fees. Those totals indicate the firm earned at least $1 million last quarter with an upper end of $2 million.

Based on SBM’s median earnings estimate, the firm is on an upswing. Their $1.5 million Q1 total tops the $1.3 million they posted last quarter and the quarter prior.

Florida lobbyists and lobbying firms faced a May 15 deadline to file compensation reports for the period covering Jan. 1 through March 31. Compensation reports for the second quarter are due to the state on Aug. 14.

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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