Lobbying compensation: Top 15 governmental affairs firms all crack $1M in Q1 pay
Image via Colin Hackley.

Here’s how the No. 15 to No. 11 firms on the charts fared in the first quarter.

Following up on Florida Politics’ rundown of the No. 25 to No. 16 top-earning lobbying firms of Q1, here are the remaining firms lingering just outside of the Top 10 in the quarterly rankings.

A reminder: 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.

No. 15: PooleMcKinley

The five-person team at PooleMcKinley earned at least $1 million last quarter according to newly filed compensation reports.

Range reporting undersells the firm’s performance in Q1. Using the middle number of each contract would show $375,000 in legislative pay and $385,000 in executive pay, or $760,000 combined.

However, the firm disclosed overall earnings between $500,000 and $1 million on the bottom line of each compensation report, meaning that $1 million mark is the firm’s earnings floor. The gap between their minimum and maximum earnings — based on the top end of each contract — is narrow, with the latter clocking in at $1.2 million.

Named partner Will McKinley worked alongside Angela Dempsey, Fred Dickinson, Erik Kirk and Sophie Smith representing 54 clients.

The firm’s most lucrative client overall was Seminole Hard Rock Digital, the Seminole Tribe’s subsidiary for its recently re-launched remote sports betting offerings. It provided an estimated $70,000 in pay, or $35,000 on each report.

No. 14: Johnston & Stewart Government Strategies

The four-person team at Johnston & Stewart earned an estimated $1.1 million in lobbying fees last quarter.

Named partners Jeff Johnston and Amanda Stewart spent the first three months of the year working alongside lobbyists Anita Berry and Omar Raschid to handle the needs of more than 50 clients. Median estimates show the firm collected $755,000 in the Legislature and $325,000.

Johnston & Stewart’s legislative compensation report was topped by the International Legal Finance Association and Long Run Strategies, both of which paid an estimated $45,000 last quarter. They were followed by the Gulfstream Park Racing Association in the $35,000 bracket.

The firm’s executive branch report listed seven clients in the $10,000 to $20,000 range: Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, Gulfstream Park Racing Association, International Legal Finance Association, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Long Run Strategies, Nicklaus Children’s Health System and TECO Energy. The remaining executive clients were listed in the up-to-$10,000 range.

Overall, the firm reported earning between $500,000 and $1 million lobbying the Legislature and between $250,000 and $500,000 lobbying the executive branch, indicating the firm earned at least $750,000 during the opening quarter of 2024. At the high end, Johnston & Stewart could have earned as much as $1.5 million.

No. 13: Johnson & Blanton

The five lobbyists at Johnson & Blanton are on pace for a banner year for another $4 million-plus year.

The firm led by Jon Johnson and Travis Blanton reported earning just shy of $1.2 million in the first quarter, with $745,000 of that sum earned via its efforts in the Legislature and the remaining $450,000 listed on its legislative report.

Team J&B — including Marnie GeorgeDarrick McGhee Sr. and Eric Prutsman — represented 85 clients in all during the first three months of the year.

The top spot on the legislative compensation report was split by Advent Health and the American Council of Life Insurers, both of which paid $35,000. Advent Health was also split the No. 1 spot on J&B’s executive branch report, where it’s listed alongside Doctors Healthcare Plans in the $25,000 bracket.

As the top clients indicate, the health care industry is Team J&B’s biggest revenue driver. The firm represents numerous associations, insurers, corporations and other health care adjacent interests, such as DaVita, the Florida Academy of Dermatology, the Florida Dental Association, the Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association, the Florida Hospital Association and the Florida Psychological Association, among others.

The total earnings range on J&B’s legislative report was $500,000 to $1 million, while executive earnings were between $250,000 and $500,000. Based on those figures and the top end of each client contract, Johnson & Blanton earned at least $750,000 in Q1 and could have earned as much as $1.5 million.

No. 12: Floridian Partners

The eight-person team at Floridian Partners collected $1.3 million in lobbying fees last quarter.

Lobbyists Charles Dudley, Jorge ChamizoClayton ClemensGeorge FeijooCory GuzzoGary Guzzo, Toby Philpot and Melissa Ramba represented 72 clients in the first quarter.

Two $45,000-level clients topped their legislative report: Elevance Health and Florida Internet & Television, the industry association representing major cable providers operating in the state. Deere & Company and the Seminole Tribe of Florida followed at the $35,000 level.

Elevance Health was also one of the firm’s highest-paying executive branch clients, splitting the No. 1 spot with Venable, a Washington D.C.-based law firm. Both clients paid $45,000 for help in the executive branch. Centene Corporation, Connaissance Software and Sawgrass Farms were just behind at $35,000 apiece.

Floridian Partners’ overall earnings fell within the $500,000 to $1 million range in the Legislature and the $250,000 to $500,000 range in the executive, meaning the firm earned no less than $750,000 and may have earned as much as $1.5 million.

No. 11: Metz Husband & Daughton

The nine-member team at Metz Husband & Daughton earned an estimated $1.8 million in the first quarter.

Warren Husband and James Daughton worked alongside lobbyists Doug BellLeslie DughiAnna Lewis, Allison Liby-SchoonoverAimee LyonAndy Palmer, and Karl Rasmussen to represent nearly 100 clients.

Two of those clients, Halifax Hospital Medical Center and Amscot Financial, broke through the cap on range reporting by paying the firm $56,000 and $51,000, respectively, for help in the Legislature.

The No. 2 spot went to Attorneys’ Title Fund Services at $45,000 while the well-known financial services company American Express was joined by the Florida Agriculture Center & Horse Park Authority in the $35,000 range.

At $25,000, The Everglades Trust was the firm’s top-paying executive branch client. The exec report listed Alteryx, Barron Collier Partnership, Carr Riggs & Ingram, Curaleaf Florida and Ecosystem Investment Partners at $15,000 apiece with the remaining contracts falling into the up-to-$10,000 bracket.

The overall range listed on MHD’s reports shows it earned $1 million or more in legislative pay and between $250,000 and $500,000 in executive pay, meaning it earned at least $1.25 in Q1. The firm’s top-end estimate is $2.25 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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