Lobbyist Compensation Up For Quarter

By: Michael Peltier, The News Service of Florida
By: Michael Peltier, The News Service of Florida


Legislative budgets may have been tight when session began in March, but lobbying budgets appeared to be healthier than in years past, according to lobbyist compensation reports filed for the first quarter of 2011.

For the three months ending March 31, four firms reported income over $1 million, a benchmark reached by the same four firms a year ago. Meanwhile, seven firms passed the $500,000 mark but fell short of $1 million.

Topping the list in alphabetical order are the GrayRobinson law firm, Ron Book, the Smith and Ballard firm and Southern Strategy Group.

Firms earning at least $500,000, but less than $1 million were the Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners; Colodny, Fass Talenfeld, Karinksy & Abate; Corcoran & Johnston; Dutko Worldwide LLC 9; Floridian Partners LLC; Foley & Lardner; Fowler White Boggs; Johnson & Blanton; Pennington Moore Wilkinson Bell & Dunbar; and Smith Bryan & Myers.

Insurance interests paid handsomely during the first quarter as lawmakers worked through a handful of issues involving property insurance, personal injury protection, Medicaid changes and other issues. FCCI, a regional commercial property insurer, spent at least $250,000 for the quarter on legislative lobbying efforts. .

State Farm, Florida second largest property insurer behind the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp, shelled out more than $150,000 for the quarter while the Florida Justice Association, a group representing plaintiff’s attorneys, spent $165,000 to get its message to lawmakers.

On the gaming front, efforts to expand gaming at existing greyhound tracks and intense interest around creating “destination gaming” venues also translated into money spent.

Las Vegas Sands spent at least $100,000 to convince lawmakers to approve carving up the state into exclusive geographic regions that would be home to mega casino resorts. Meanwhile, the Seminole Tribe of Florida spent more than $80,000 to keep them out.

Cigarette makers also spent big. Miami-based Dosal Tobacco Corp pumped at least $173,000 in its legislative lobbying efforts to keep it from being added to a group of tobacco companies paying into the state’s settlement with certain other cigarette makers.

Meanwhile, RAI Services, formerly Reynolds Tobacco Co., spent $70,000 while Altria, parent company of Phillip Morris, spent more than $90,000 presumably to convince lawmakers to include Dosal in the settlement.

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  • by Franklin Location: Tallahassee on May 18, 2011 at 05:41 PM
    I will agree with any poster who thinks lobbyists should be banned as long as union lobbyists are right there among the banned.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 18, 2011 at 08:40 PM in reply to Franklin
      That's a bold claim. I think you would find that every union dollar represents more individuals' voices (or fractions thereof) than every multi-millionaire businessman's dollar. In an actual democracy, that would not bode well for your plutocratic party.
    • reply
      by Unions should be banned on May 19, 2011 at 05:22 AM in reply to Franklin
      All unions should be banned.
  • by Anonymous on May 18, 2011 at 03:14 PM
    I would like to see how much better our state and government (of,by & for the people) would be if we could abolish and outlaw lobbyists and have (make) senators, representative really confer with all of the public they are suppposed to represent and are paid to do the will of the people - not lobbyists, not business, not medical or insurance interests.
  • by Anonymous on May 18, 2011 at 12:42 PM
    Of course lobbyist revenue is up, they get 10% of all the bribes they deliver on behalf of big businesses. And as we all know, all three branches of Florida government are "open for business."
  • by This is how it works on May 18, 2011 at 12:15 PM
    Go cry somewhere else.
  • by Anonymous on May 18, 2011 at 11:53 AM
    New Governor, and many new lawmakers. Lobbyists have to make sure they get heard (that's their job), so with all these new faces in Tallahassee, why would you not expect lobbyist spending to increase this year?
  • by I knew Rick Scott was involved on May 18, 2011 at 11:19 AM
    Yes this is a copy and paste. One of the firms that saw its compensation totals jump was The Rubin Group, the firm led by William Rubin, a long-time lobbyist and friend of Gov. Rick Scott. A year ago The Rubin Group represented 20 clients and reported earning between $250,000 and $499,000. But during the first quarter the list shot up to 36 clients as Rubin’s firm picked up new clients such as Automated HealthCare Solutions, Florida Power & Light, the Florida Association of Health Plans, Humana, Geo Care, and Sunrise Sports and Entertainment, the owner of the Florida Panthers hockey team. Several of those businesses were deeply involved in some of the major issues of the session including a push for privatization in Florida’s prisons, the overhaul of the Medicaid program and a push to allow major utilities to charge more for renewable energy efforts. Automated HealthCare Solutions sells software that workers’ compensation doctors use to dispense medications. A bill considered the last two years would have put strict limits on how much the doctors could charge.
    • reply
      by ok on May 18, 2011 at 03:56 PM in reply to I knew Rick Scott was involved
      What's your source? Did you leave anything out? It said this is just one firm, who are the others? Inquiring minds want to know. I know you wouldn't pick and choose the info for your own self gratification...(sarcasm)
      • reply
        by Anonymous on May 19, 2011 at 05:31 AM in reply to ok
        Google The Rubin Group. Gotta love Google, lots of good info that people just don't know how to find.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 19, 2011 at 05:52 AM in reply to I knew Rick Scott was involved
      Why on earth are people turning a blind eye to what the Gov is all about. Money, money, money. Example Scott purchased 50% of CyberGuard Corporation for approximately $10 CyberGuard was sold to Secure Computing for over $300 MILLION DOLLARS. He is also the co-owner of the Texas Rangers along with George W. Bush.
  • by Mary Location: Tally on May 18, 2011 at 09:17 AM
    They needed this money to pay off the politicians. Follow the money. Illegals rights, insurance,etc.
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