As Assembly gathers, lobbyists flock around to scuffle for cash

The Maryland General Assembly deals in big bucks, and businesses, corporations and the just plain filthy rich spend money, too, to make sure they get as much benefit as they can from the session that begins next week. Highly paid lobbyists are there to pursue that goal, and the welfare of ordinary folks are often not part of their plans, as we can surmise from this account by Len Lazarick of Maryland Reporter.


 

The Maryland General Assembly opens next Wednesday (Jan. 10) and big money will wash from committee to committee and then to the Senate and House floors as the budget dropped by Gov. Larry Hogan is sliced and diced. Hogan, if last year’s behavior is a clue, will promaryland_state_house.jpgbably disclose his budget about a week into the session – and in this strong-executive state government, the General Assembly can’t add to the total without extraordinary contortions, but just shift the funds around. There is much artfulness in that activity.

How that artful dodging gets done is of great interest to corporations, businesses and individuals of considerable wealth. And to make sure they come out of the process in April, they spend considerable money on highly skilled lobbyists who watch out for their interests while they are in Cancun or Vegas. As you’ll see, big money washes around these lobbying firms as well.

Ordinary folks, on the other hand, are more likely to come out on the short end of these activities come April, despite the declarations by legislators that they are working on behalf of the peepul. Who makes money by making sure the wealthy come out ahead? The State Ethics Commission gathers the required lobbyist reports, and Len Lazarick of Maryland Reporter today (Jan. 3) recounts the commission’s finding, which names the names.  And he provides links so you can go down the Ethics Commission rabbit hole and find out who does what for whom.

/By Len Lazarick <> Len@MarylandReporter.com/ The 14 state lobbying firms that billed over $1 million in the past year grossed over $30 million representing literally hundreds of clients.

Not surprisingly, the 10 highest-paid lobbyists which we listed last month as each billing more than $1 million are also members of the top-grossing firms.

The highest-grossing firms, whose billings include all the expenses to run an Annapolis office, in order are:

  1. Perry, White, Ross & Jacobson…….$4,534,051
  2. Rifkin Weiner Livingston, LLC…… $3,678,804
  3. Alexander & Cleaver, P.A. …………..$3,126,479
  4. Manis Canning & Associates ……….$2,828,976
  5. Harris Jones & Malone, LLC ……….$2,130,823
  6. Gerard E. Evans, Ltd. …………………$2,089,899
  7. Venable, LLP …………………………….$2,032,909
  8. Capitol Strategies, LLC ……………….$1,822,016
  9. Schwartz, Metz & Wise, P.A. ………..$1,803,027
  10. Bruce Bereano ………………………….$1,675,303
  11. S. Proctor & Associates, Inc. ………. $1,313,041
  12. Cornerstone Government Affairs .. $1,067,153
  13. Gordon Feinblatt LLC ………………..$1,022,775
  14. DLA Piper LLP (US) …………………..$1,000,194

The State Ethics Commission assembles this data annually based on reports filed by the lobbyists and their firms. Here is a link to all the commission’s breakdowns.

Here is the commission’s list of all the registered lobbyists and their clients. Here is a list of organizations who hired lobbyists and the names of those hired.

The commission lists do not include earnings for scores of six-figure lobbyists who work directly for state and local governments and many nonprofit organizations. They do not have to register or file earnings reports.