Becoming Lobbyists

Citizens Union‘s Dick Dadey emailed over revenue numbers for the top New York political consulting and lobbying firms for the past five years that give a strong sense of how political consultants’ main product line is increasingly…lobbying. It’s not a new trend, but it’s a worrying one for good-government groups, as the question of whether influence is being peddled depends largely on the consultants’ personal integrity. In the worst case, the political work is basically a loss leader for the core lobbying business.

Revenue for lobbying has increased more rapidly then revenue for campaign consulting since 2001. Although there is fluctuation in some years–the number and intensity of contracts clearly affects this–the general revenue trend for lobbying is up.

In the top five earners, as revenue for each firm increases, the share derived from campaign consulting has become smaller. Overall, only three of the top ten firms make more than 30% of their revenue from campaign consulting. While those three are in the top five in overall revenue, numbers show a trend towards lobbying. In first and second place for overall revenue, respectively, are the two firms who increased lobbying revenue the most over five years, the Parkside Group by 98%, and Kasirer Consulting by 93%.

Since 2001, the top ten consulting/lobbying shops in total revenue (with the share of revenue from lobbying in parentheses):

1. The Parkside Group: $7,585,897 (70%)
2. Kasirer Consulting: $6,541,569 (89%)
3. Mirram Global: $5,275,157 (30%)
4. Hank Sheinkopf: $4,725,904 (11%)
5. The Advance Group: $2,773,644 (10%)
6. Constantinople Consulting: $2,343,968 (95%)
7. George Arzt: $1,784,163 (94%)
8. Wiscovitch Associates: $680,860 (79%)
9. Pryor, Cashman, Sherman & Flynn: $391,476 (79%)
10. Schnur Associates: $209,950 (70%)

—Nicole Brydson

UPDATE: As a bunch of readers noted, we could have been clearer about the sources and limits of this data. This is a list of consultants who work on city races and lobby city officials. The sources, Dadey emails, are the New York City Campaign Finance Board and the City Clerk’s lobbying search database. So other sources of revenue, and other lobbying contracts, aren’t included.

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