Lobbying compensation: Ballard Partners take top spot for third quarter in a row
Brian Ballard and Ballard Partners continue global expansion.

Brian Ballard
Ballard Partners has the edge in median earnings, but The Southern Group has a higher ceiling.

Ballard Partners was once again the top-earning lobbying firm in the state, according to compensation reports covering the third quarter.

Firm founder and president Brian Ballard and the two dozen lobbyists at the firm put an estimated $6.52 million in the till during the reporting period, with $3.79 million of that earned lobbying the Legislature.

The haul represents a 5% bump over the firm’s Q2 tally and also makes for three consecutive quarters that the powerhouse clinched No. 1 in overall earnings.

“Our continued growth is a direct reflection of the level of confidence that our clients place in our firm and we are honored by their faith and trust,” Brian Ballard told Florida Politics.

The No. 1 ranking is based on median earnings estimates, which Florida Politics calculates by using the middle number of the per-client ranges firms list on their compensation reports. Firms also report overall ranges, however, that line tops out at $1 million — a hurdle each of the Top 5 firms hop without breaking a sweat.

Using the top end of per-client ranges puts a different firm on top: The Southern Group.

Co-founder and chair Paul Bradshaw captained TSG’s lobbying team to another $6 million-plus quarter. Based on median earnings estimates, the firm earned $6.18 million — about $340,000 behind Ballard Partners.

However, max earnings estimates show The Southern Group could have earned as much as $8.82 million, which is $250,000 more than Ballard’s $8.56 million max.

Capital City Consulting remained in a comfortable third place. The 12-member team led by Ron LaFace and INFLUENCE Magazine’s 2021 “Lobbyist of the Year,” Nick Iarossi, logged $2.67 million in legislative earnings and $2.26 million in executive earnings for an overall total of $4.93 million in Q3.

That’s a slight bump from the $4.75 million CCC raked in during the April-through-June reporting period.

Meanwhile, GrayRobinson held firm to the No. 4 ranking it first earned earlier this year. Firm president and CEO Dean Cannon led a Q3 effort that saw the law and lobbying firm collect $1.41 million in the Legislature and slightly over $1.33 million in the executive.

The $2.75 million total keeps pace with the firm’s reports for the first two quarters of the year and puts GrayRobinson in the position to earn nearly $11 million in 2022.

“We’re proud to continue to be a top firm in Florida’s legal-lobbying space,” said Chris Carmody, shareholder and member of the GrayRobinson Government Affairs and Lobbying Team. “This ranking is indicative of the confidence our clients have in us and the relentless efforts our team exerts for our clients day in and day out.”

Ron Book and lobbying partners Rana Brown and Kelly Mallette rounded out the Top 5. As ever, the crew was a model of efficiency. Its $2.30 million total works out to more than $750,000 per team member — an average no other firm in the state can compete with.

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.

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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