The COVID-19 pandemic is devastating the Maryland economy and the General Assembly cut its session short this year for the first time since the Civil War.
But State House lobbying continues to be a remunerative profession, according to a report issued Thursday by the Maryland State Ethics Commission, which tracks and regulates lobbying activity in the state.
More than 125 registered State House lobbyists earned at least $50,000 between Nov. 1 and April 30, the report showed — a period that included the legislative session, which ran from Jan. 8 through March 18, 19 days shorter than its original closing date.
Thirty-seven registered lobbyists cleared $250,000 in earnings during the six-month reporting period, and half a dozen topped $1 million.
The list of top earners features several familiar faces, led by two veteran lobbyists who faced federal felony convictions more than two decades ago, Gerard E. Evans and Bruce C. Bereano. Bereano has been a solo practitioner for his entire lobbying career, while Evans is currently in practice with his daughter, Hayley.
Several lobbying firms boasted top earners, including Rifkin, Weiner Livingston, LLC; Capitol Strategies; Manis & Canning; Perry, White, Ross and Jacobson; Cornerstone Government Affairs; Harris Jones Malone; G.S. Proctor & Associates; and Schwartz, Metz and Wise, among others.
Here is a list of the lobbyists who earned $250,000 or more between Nov. 1 and April 30:
- Gerard E. Evans, Evans and Associates: $2,314,499
- Bruce C. Bereano: $1,581,586
- Timothy Perry, Perry, White, Ross and Jacobson: $1,449,191
- Lisa Harris Jones, Harris Jones Malone: $1,147,800
- Frank D. Boston III, Law Offices of Frank D. Boston III: $1,134,000
- Michael V. Johansen, Rifkin, Weiner, Livingston LLC: $1,113,781
- Brett Lininger, Nemphos Braue: $808,031
- J. Steven Wise, Schwartz, Metz, Wise: $730,922
- Joel Rozner, Rifkin, Weiner, Livingston: $672,907
- Nick Manis, Manis & Canning: $661,350
- Jonas Jacobson, Perry, White, Ross and Jacobson: $549,650
- G.S. Proctor Jr., G.S. Proctor & Associates: $546,725
- John R. Stierhoff, Venable LLP: $538,176
- D. Robert Enten, Gordon Feinblatt LLC: $493,804
- Patrick J. Hogan, Cornerstone Government Affairs: $483,834
- Hannah Garagiola, Compass Government Affairs: $481,630
- Joseph C. Bryce, Manis & Canning: $459,000
- John Favazza, Manis & Canning: $407,600
- Danna Kauffman, Schwartz, Metz and Wise: $405,950
- Sean Malone, Harris Jones Malone: $403,500
- Ivan V. Lanier, Greenwill Consulting Group LLC: $390,200
- Josh White, Perry, White, Ross and Jacobson: $390,001
- Justin Ross, Perry, White, Ross and Jacobson: $377,250
- Paul A. Tiburzi, DLA Piper Global Law Firm: $363,111
- John Pica Jr., Pica & Associates, LLC: $356,379
- Delora Sanchez, Cornerstone Government Affairs: $350,684
- Bryson F. Popham: $349,930
- Sushant Sidh, Capitol Strategies: $325,309
- J.R. Reith, Rifkin, Weiner, Livingston LLC: $319,872
- David Carroll Jr., Capitol Strategies: $318,960
- Pamela M. Kasemeyer, Schwartz, Metz and Wise: $314,685
- Marta D. Harting, Venable LLP: $310,050
- Andrea Mansfield, Manis & Canning: $300,950
- J. William Pitcher (mostly worked for Bellamy-Genn LLP during this period, but has since left the firm): $299,775
- Gary R. Jones, Baxter Baker: $270,000
- Ashlie T. Bagwell, Harris Jones Malone: $258,000
- William Kress, The Capital Law Firm: $256,070
Meanwhile, the two entities that spent the most on State House lobbying during the six-month reporting period were both trying to pass the Blueprint for America’s Future — education reform legislation that cleared the General Assembly but was vetoed by Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R).
The list was topped by Strong Schools Maryland, a nonprofit set up primarily by business leaders who supported the ambitious but costly blueprint, which reported spending $559,596 from Nov. 1 to April 30, and the Maryland State Education Association — the state’s principal teachers’ union — which spent $516,558.
Johns Hopkins — the university and the medical center — were third in lobbying spending, followed by the Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Pimlico Race Course and the Laurel Park race track, and lobbied for an elaborate plan to to improve both tracks.
In all, about 240 businesses, educational institutions, nonprofits and other entities reported spending at least $50,000 during the six-month period that included the legislative session. Twenty-one spent at least $200,000 — a list that heavily featured health care entities, energy companies, and financial and real estate interests.
The top spenders on lobbying:
- Strong Schools Maryland: $559,596
- Maryland State Education Association: $516,558
- Johns Hopkins (lobbying summary doesn’t specify whether it’s the university or the medical system, so it is likely both): $481,756
- Maryland Jockey Club: $470,213
- The Northeast Maglev LLC: $418,943
- Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield: $418,524
- Washington Gas: $373,402
- Maryland Association of Realtors: $336,087
- Maryland Bankers Association: $312,573
- Maryland Hospital Association: $307,316
- Pepco Holdings Inc.: $284,473
- Med Chi — the Maryland Medical Society: $268,062
- Baltimore Gas & Electric: $246,869
- Altria: $239,671
- HALMAR International: $239,000
- Association of Dental Support Organizations: $234,443
- Med Star Health: $217,863
- Maryland Catholic Conference: $211,030
- Food Research and Action Center/Maryland Hunger Solutions: $207,150
- Law office of Peter G. Angelos: $204,443
- League of Life and Health Insurance of Maryland: $200,000