Lobbying compensation: The Southern Group tops all firms in Q2, Ballard Partners close behind
Southern Group reigns for another quarter.

TSG earned $7.8 million in Q2. Ballard Partners tallied $7.6 million.

The Southern Group is the top-earning lobbying firm in Florida, according to newly released second-quarter compensation reports.

The firm, led by founder Paul Bradshaw, earned an estimated $7.8 million during the April-through-June reporting period, placing it in the top spot among all lobbying firms in the state. TSG’s rake included nearly $4.9 million in legislative lobbying pay, with an additional $2.9 million in earnings lobbying the Governor, Cabinet and state agencies.

The firm’s Q2 numbers continue a double-digit growth streak — they represent a 10% bump over Q1, when TSG reported just shy of $7.1 million in lobbying pay. During the same quarter last year, The Southern Group reported earnings of $6.2 million.

“When you have a firm that is owned by all of its team members, it naturally creates a culture where everyone works to win for all of our clients, and these numbers are simply a reflection of that commitment. We’re proud to be the No. 1 firm in Florida,” Bradshaw told Florida Politics.

Florida Politics estimates lobbying pay based on the middle number of the per-client ranges firms listed on their compensation reports. Contracts are reported in $10,000 increments up to $50,000. Firms are also required to register overall earnings ranges. However, firm-level ranges top out at $1 million, a hurdle most Top 10 earning firms quickly cleared.

Ballard Partners took a close second last quarter. The international firm reported nearly $7.6 million in revenues for its Sunshine State operation. Founder Brian Ballard and the firm’s Florida-based lobbyists earned more than $4.3 million in the Legislature and $3.2 million in the executive branch — the firm was only $233,000 short of hanging onto the top spot.

Ballard Partners’ revenues grew only slightly from Q1, but the year-over-year growth stands at 21%.

Ballard Partners and The Southern Group have jockeyed back and forth in the top spot for several years, and both firms have announced new ventures as their Florida lobbying revenues continue to swell.

Ballard, which has established offices in D.C., Turkey and Israel, is hoping to replicate its success in the California market. The Southern Group, meanwhile, is launching a spinoff consultancy, called TSG Advisors, which will initially cater to clients in the education and public safety industries.

Behind the top two is Capital City Consulting, which showed $6.3 million in receipts last quarter, including $3.2 million in the Legislature. The firm was only just shy of taking the No. 1 spot in executive branch revenues. Its total — $3.1 million — was only about $120,000 shy of Ballard’s.

Founded by Nick Iarossi and Ron LaFace, the firm represented over 250 clients in Q2. It, too, has been on a tear, with revenues increasing by more than 33% year-over-year and more than 55% from Q2 2021.

GrayRobinson remained in the No. 4 spot with nearly $3.2 million in Q2 earnings. The team led by Dean Cannon represents nearly 200 clients between the Legislature, where it reported $1.7 million in pay, and the executive branch, where it notched $1.48 million.

GrayRobinson’s team recently expanded with the addition of former city of Jacksonville Chief of Staff and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Leeann Krieg, who was brought aboard to develop the firm’s local government and state lobbying client base in and around Northeast Florida. A full-service law firm, GrayRobinson also recently added state Rep. Kaylee Tuck as an of counsel in its Real Estate and Land Use Section.

The No. 5 spot in the rankings went to the small-but-fierce team led by Ron Book. The four-person squad, which also includes Rana Brown, Kelly Mallette and Gabriela Navarro, approached $3 million in overall earnings. The bulk — $2.3 million — was earned in the Legislature, while the executive branch accounted for about $620,000 in revenue.

The team at Rubin Turnbull & Associates continued posting compensation reports in the $3 million range last quarter, rounding out the Top 6 list.

The firm led by Bill Rubin and Heather Turnbull topped $2 million in quarterly pay throughout 2022 and earned just shy of $3 million in Q1. They neared the same mark in Q2, with the firm’s newest reports showing median earnings of $2.81 million. The Q2 haul may have even crossed the $3 million threshold, with top-end estimates placing the quarterly total at around $3.7 million.

Rubin Turnbull tallied more than $1.4 million in the Legislature. About 10% of the total came from one client, 21st Century Family Empowerment Council, which paid $150,000 to retain the team last quarter. Rubin Turnbull’s executive branch report measured in at just under $1.4 million as well, with HCA holding the No. 1 spot.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

One comment

  • Richard Russell

    October 9, 2023 at 5:24 pm

    The two fastest growing profession: Legal and Lobbying. The two L’s, which have caused the greatest harm to our Constitutional Republic and may soon serve as its pallbearer. Where else can a washed up politician go to receive his rewards for allegiance to everything that is destroying our country.

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