Eight Firms Top $2 Mil in 2019 Lobbying Receipts
Health Care, Gaming Clients Spend Big on Lobbying
3/25/20 7:00 AM
MARCH 25, 2020.....Smith Costello & Crawford continued its run as Beacon Hill's top-earning lobbying firm by hauling in $643,000 more than any other agency in the second half of 2019, according to state records.
The firm led all others in total compensation between July 1 and Dec. 31 with $2.28 million, according to a summary Secretary of State William Galvin's office provided to the News Service. That bumped its 2019 total up to $4.22 million, the highest of any lobbying entity registered in Massachusetts.
For the second straight six-month period, Smith Costello & Crawford topped the list in total compensation after initially supplanting long-time leader ML Strategies in the first half of 2019.
ML Strategies brought in $1.64 million between July 1 and Dec. 31 and $3.66 million in 2019 as a whole, according to Galvin's office.
Smith Costello & Crawford was boosted into the top spot in part thanks to its broad base of clients: 75 different organizations paid the firm for lobbying services between July and December, 19 more than any other firm.
The firm's largest client in the second half of 2019 was the Mass Gaming and Entertainment group seeking a casino resort in southeastern Massachusetts, which mirrored the $216,000 it paid in the first half of the year.
Other top clients included wind power, marijuana and transportation interests. Recovery Centers of America and Orsted Wind Power North America Inc. each paid Smith Costello & Crawford $90,000, while FirstLight Power Resources and Metrom Rail LLC each paid $75,000.
The only other client across the entire lobbying landscape to pay a firm $200,000 or more over the last six months of 2019 was Encore Boston Harbor casino operator Wynn MA LLC, which directed $213,311 to ML Strategies.
Smith Costello & Crawford, which listed seven lobbyists on its payroll in 2019, and ML Strategies, which reported 11 in the second half of the year and another three who left during the first half, were the only firms that hauled in more than $3 million over the course of last year.
O'Neill and Associates LLC reported the third-highest compensation in 2019 with $2.98 million. Five other firms crossed the $2 million threshold: Kearney Donovan & McGee P.C., Tremont Strategies Group LLC, Bay State Strategies Group LLC, Rasky Partners, and Preti Strategies.
Clients in the health care industry were the biggest spenders on lobbying in Massachusetts last year, comprising three of the top four in total compensation paid to lobbyists.
The Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association led the list with $873,478 spent on lobbying in 2019, followed by Partners HealthCare System with $703,551, the Mass Gaming and Entertainment group with $662,000, the Massachusetts Nurses Association with $574,540 and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council with $548,175.
Both clients and lobbying firms must file twice-yearly disclosures with the secretary of state about their financial activity, which the office processes and publishes in an online database.
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