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Trump-Connected Lobbying Firms Brought in Record Revenues in 2019

Former Trump campaign and cabinet officials raked in millions during 2019, which saw a near-record in lobbying spending.

Donald Trump listens during a meeting about the Governors Initiative on Regulatory Innovation in the Cabinet Room of the White House on December 16, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

Lobbying firms with connections to President Donald Trump and the Trump administration reported strong earnings in 2019, a year that saw a near-record lobbying spending.

Despite only jumping into the federal lobbying game in 2017, Ballard Partners leveraged its well-known connections to the Trump administration to become one of the largest and most influential lobbying firms in Washington. Ballard Partners is now the seventh largest firm by revenue. The firm’s earnings hit a new high in 2019, of about $18.9 million, up slightly from about $18.3 million in 2018.

Brian Ballard, then a Florida-focused lobbyist, chaired the Trump Victory committee in 2016, which raised more than $108 million for Trump’s election and various Republican party committees. The firm also employs Dan McFaul, a member of the Trump transition team.

Some of Ballard Partners largest clients included British American Tobacco, the private prison company GEO Group, General Motors and Amazon. Ballard Partner’s highest-paying client in 2019 was Detroit International Bridge, which paid $920,000 for lobbying services. Detroit International Bridge sought the contract to build a new bridge from Canada to Detroit, seeking to overturn a plan agreed to with a Canadian company, although its efforts have not been successful.

Another Trump-connected lobbying firm, Miller Strategies, also brought in record revenue. Jeff Miller, vice chair of Trump’s inaugural committee, founded the firm soon after the 2017 inauguration. The firm’s earnings increased from just over $2 million in 2017 to more than $5 million in 2018 to $8.1 million in 2019. Miller represented Amazon, Pfizer, Apple and General Electric among many others.

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski joined Turnberry Solutions last year, and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also began working at Turnberry Solutions in 2019. Zinke became the first cabinet member of the Trump administration to join a lobbying firm after leaving the administration. Turnberry Solutions saw its earnings increase from about $790,000 in 2018 to $1.2 million in 2019.

Perennial lobbying powerhouse Brownstein Hyatt had its best year to date, earning over $39.5 million in 2019, which is about a $8.3 million increase from 2018. The K Street firm was the second highest earner last year, only behind Akin Gump. A factor in helping Brownstein Hyatt have influence with the White House was Marc Lampkin, an early Trump backer and fundraiser. The White House was its top lobbied agency, along with the Department of Treasury.

Geoff Burr, former high ranking official at the Department of Labor and the Department of Transportation, joined Brownstein Hyatt in 2019, and his clients include FedEx and the United Mine Workers. Emily Felder, a former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services official, also joined the firm last year. Felder’s clients include Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Another massive lobbying firm, Holland & Knight, saw their payments increase slightly to about $24.4 million. Two former Trump transition team members, Scott Mason and Lauren Maddox, joined the firm in 2017. The White House was the top lobbied agency for Holland & Knight.

Smaller lobbying firms employing former Trump administration officials also saw revenue increases. Alex Pryor Campau, who advised Trump on health policy, joined lobbying firm Cozen O’Connor in August 2018. Cozen O’Connor earned about $3.4 million in 2019, nearly a 62 percent increase from 2018. Campau’s clients include the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Fresenius Medical Care.

Hunter Hall, a former Department of Commerce official, joined the lobbying firm Picard Group in early 2018. Since Hall has joined the firm, Picard Group increased their earnings by about 42 percent from 2017 to 2018, and their earnings reached $860,000 last year, almost doubling their total from 2018. Hall has lobbied on behalf of 11 clients, almost all of which are from Louisiana.

The lobbying firm Rich Feuer Anderson saw their earnings increase from about $3.5 million in 2018 to $4.1 million in 2019. Rich Feuer Anderson hired former high ranking official at the Department of the Treasury, Jared Sawyer, in 2018. Sawyer’s clients included Amazon, American Express and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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