Lobbying compensation: The Southern Group is Florida’s top earning firm for 2023
Southern Group reigns for another quarter.

Ballard Partners was $212K behind at No. 2.

With fourth-quarter reports in, The Southern Group was officially the most lucrative firm in the Sunshine State last year.

The firm, led by founder Paul Bradshaw, closed out the year with a pair of reports totaling $8.52 million, with $4.79 million flowing in through its legislative lobbying practice and another $3.74 million earned in the executive branch.

Q4 marked The Southern Group’s second consecutive quarter with earnings of $8 million or more, and while the firm did cede its No. 1 status in the most recent quarterly rankings — Ballard Partners retook the crown with an $8.55 million performance — The Southern Group’s strong finish brought its annual total to $31.48 million, which was good enough to secure the top spot.

Double-digit revenue growth has been commonplace among the state’s Top 5 firms in the post-pandemic years, and the trend is especially evident when viewing annual totals: Stacked side-by-side against the 2022 total, The Southern Group’s revenues grew by $6.46 million year-over-year — an increase of more than 25%.

Ballard Partners wasn’t far behind.

Full-year reports show the firm founded by Brian Ballard collected $31.27 million in 2023, putting it just $212,000 behind The Southern Group. The annual total includes $17.9 million in legislative earnings and $13.37 million in executive branch earnings.

Ballard’s 2023 total represented a year-over-year increase of $6.25 million, or about 25%, compared to the $25.02 million haul it posted in 2022.

While The Southern Group and Ballard Partners have been jockeying back and forth for the top spot for several years running, they are not the only lobbying firms celebrating a successful 2023.

Capital City Consulting, which has had an iron grip on the No. 3 spot for years, closed out the year with a pair of compensation reports totaling $6.68 million. That sum puts the firm at $25.57 million for the year.

The firm co-founded by Nick Iarossi and Ron LaFace has also built a substantial local lobbying practice in the 18 months since it acquired Prodigy Public Affairs, which now operates under the name CCC Miami. The reports filed with the state do not include revenues from local and non-state lobbying work.

Still, percentagewise, CCC saw one of the largest year-over-year revenue bumps among Florida’s top-tier firms, earning nearly 30% more than the $19.79 million total it posted in 2022.

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.

Using median estimates, The Southern Group, Ballard Partners and Capital City Consulting have held the top three spots in Florida Politics’ quarterly rankings for more than a dozen quarters running.

Florida Politics will update its Top 25 list in the coming days. For a glance at where firms ranked at the end of September, check out Florida Politics’ Q3 Lobby Firm Rankings.

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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