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Legislators create lucrative circle of influence when their paid consultants lobby

The unlimited special-interest cash streaming into Florida legislators' political accounts has enriched a small group of influential consultants who received $19.5 million from political committees and campaigns in the 2008 election cycle.

The torrent of money flowing through the Capitol has also fueled an industry of consultants who lobby.

Of the 60 highest-paid consultants for lawmakers' committees, at least 12 work as lobbyists, according to a Herald/Times analysis. The consultant-lobbyists are hired by corporations to influence the same legislators who pay them for political help.

This circular network ties together special interests, lobbyists and lawmakers in a tight web of money and insider access. The lobbying clients seek legislative help. The legislators seek cash, for reelection or pet causes. The common link: the consultant. Read more here. 

Read list of lobbyist/consultants here:

12 political consultants who lobby

party affiliation
Amount received No. of clients Notable
Roger Pennington, Rep. $2.1 million 1 Municipal Electric Assoc.
Christian Ulvert, Dem. $522,290 9 Dosal Tobacco
Bill Helmich, Rep. $297,100 9 Miami-Dade County
Joe Perry, Dem. $209,744 2 FCCI Insurance
Esther Nuhfer, Rep. $201,618 1 Evidence-based Assoc.
Bridget Gregory Nocco, Rep. $181,973 4 U.S. Sugar
Todd Richardson, Rep. $126,006 2 Altria
Amber Stoner, Rep. $116,026 1 HCA Healthcare
Jerry Wayne Bertsch, Rep. $55,417 1 American Cancer Society
Randy Enwright, Rep. $52,983 7 AT&T
Thomas Grigsby, Rep. $23,764 3 Florida State Fraternal Order of Police
Screven Watson, Dem. $22,644 4 U.S. Sugar
Total $3,937,779

Source: Division of Elections data for 2007-08