Maryland lobbyists return to Annapolis this session hoping to keep the growth in the industry going under a divided government.
Expenditures on lobbying topped $18 million in the first six months of 2015 — an increase of more than $1 million or about 7 percent compared to the previous year. Health care tops the list of issues for the third consecutive year since gaming topped the list in 2012, according to the 2014 Maryland State Ethics Commission annual report. The report was the most recent available as of press time.
The 2015 annual report is likely to answer the question whether firms saw a bump in business after hiring or partnering with Republicans following the election of Gov. Larry Hogan (R).
Earlier this year, Annapolis-based Capitol Strategies hired Todd Lamb, who previously worked as a special assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-2004.
Similarly, J. William Pitcher announced a strategic partnership with Marina Hardy’s government affairs firm. Hardy worked as finance director for Hogan’s Change Maryland campaign.
Finally, long-time power lobbyist Bruce Bereano was an early supporter of Hogan. Bereano earlier this year represented health insurance provider Cigna before the Board of Public Works on a $634 million insurance contract with the Maryland Transit Administration. The insurance provider has previously retained Scott Livingston of Rifkin, Weiner, Livingston, Levitan, & Silver LLC when the contract first came before the board in December 2014.
Of the state’s 149 registered lobbyists, more than one of every two dollars spent on lobbying went to the top 10 earners in the first six months of this year, according to the most recent state ethics reports.
Gerard E. Evans topped the list with more than $1.8 million in reported lobbying earnings. He reported earning $1.2 million for the entire previous 12-month period.
Evans, a former chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party and top legislative aide in 1982 to then Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and current Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. is a perennial top earner in Maryland. Evans was convicted in 2000 of multiple counts of mail and wire fraud related to accusations that he charged clients for lobbying services related to fictitious issues he created.
Timothy Perry, another former senior aide to Miller and perennial top earner, slipped to second reporting earnings of more than $1.1 million. In 2014, Perry topped the annual list at $1.9 million — the third consecutive year he finished as the highest paid lobbyist in the state.
Joel D. Rozner, a lobbyist for Rifkin, Weiner, Livingston, Levitan & Silver LLC who once served as chief of staff to Parris N. Glendening when the latter was the Prince George’s county executive and was named to the Governor’s Commission on Lobbying Ethics after Glendening became governor, is currently third. He reported earnings of nearly $969,000 for the first six months of the year.
The following are the top 10 highest-paid lobbyists in Maryland for the first six months of 2015, according to the Maryland State Ethics Commission.
Gerard E. Evans: More than $1.8 million
Timothy Perry: More than $1.1 million
Joel D. Rozner, of Rifkin, Weiner, Livingston, Levitan & Silver LLC: $969,000
Robert Garagiola, of Alexander & Cleaver: $927,415
Lisa Harris Jones, of Harris Jones Malone: $904,350
Bruce Bereano: $896,450
Michael Johansen, of Rifkin, Weiner, Livingston, Levitan & Silver: $866,165
Nicholas Manis, of Manis Canning & Associates: $769,333
Frank Boston III: $688,088
Steven Wise of Schwartz, of Metz & Wise P.A.: $648,856