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Archer Named One of New Jersey’s Top Lobbying Firms

Revenues Rebound for NJ Lawyer-Lobbyists in 2015

Michael Booth, New Jersey Law Journal

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Rank Firm 2015 Revenues Top Clients Top Lobbyists
1 Gibbons
Trenton and Newark (1)
$2,639,902 Grant Thornton, Cooper Health System, Cablevision David Pascrell, William Castner, Christine Stearns
2 Optimus Partners
Trenton (2)
$1,780,700 Casino Association of New Jersey, Comcast, Sayreville Seaport Association Jeffrey Michaels, Philip Norcross, Kevin Davis
3 Archer Public Affairs/Archer
Haddonfield and Trenton (5)
$1,262,612 Prudential Financial, Naphcare Inc., Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children William Caruso, Lori Grifa
4 Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti
Morristown and Trenton (3)
$1,243,069 Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, New Jersey Horse Racing, New Jersey Bankers Association Mary Kathryn Roberts, John Pellecchia, John Kohler
5 Porzio Governmental Affairs
Morristown and Trenton(4)
$1,165,762 MasterCard International, Pennwood Racing Inc., New Jersey Council of County Colleges Lynn Nowak, Barbara DeMarco, Sal Anderton
6 Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott/Van Wagner Governmment Affairs
Ocean (9)
$569,515 Citigroup Washington, Clear Channel Outdoor, American Insurance Association Richard Van Wagner
7 Impact NJ
Trenton (7)
$509,515 Liberty Health System/Jersey City Medical Center, Garden State Dispensary, RTC Properties Inc. W. Michael Murphy Jr., Guy Gregg, Jason Orlando, Cullen McAuliffe
8 Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Fader
Rochell Park (10)
$504,987 SUEZ Water, Thomas Jefferson University, Pepsico Paul Fader, Louis Cappelli Jr.
9 Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi/Wolff & Samson Public Affairs
West Orange (6)
$455,936 Health Management Systems, IGT Global Solutions, Association of Dental Support Organizations Patrick O’Reilly, Rocco Iossa
10 Pringle Quinn Anzano
Trenton (n/r)
332,698 Bank of America, Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., Meredian Health Paul Anzano, Michael O’Connell
Total   $10,464,696    

After a one-year dip in revenues, earnings for the lobbying industry in Trenton shot up in 2015 and the top 10 lawyers and law firms that lobby saw their incomes increase as well.

Revenue for all of the 937 registered lobbyists in the state rose to $55,582,991 last year, up from $53,858,957 in 2014, according to statistics released March 3 by the state Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), which regulates the lobbying industry and mandates financial disclosure. The 2015 revenues were still short of 2013’s revenues of $56,582,337, however.

The top 10 lawyer-lobbyists had 2015 revenues of $10,464,696, up from $9,605,808 the year before. That represents an increase of slightly more than 8.9 percent.

Overall spending on lobbying reached $70,039,926 last year, an increase of 19 percent from 2014’s spending level of $58,873,945.

ELEC Executive Director Jeffrey Brindle attributed the spending increases to campaigns involving public schools, public-sector union pension and benefits, transportation infrastructure and health care.

“Spending by lobbyists in 2015 reached its highest level in five years,” Brindle said. “Some years are more active than others in the State House.”

The biggest spender was the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), which spent more than $10.3 million. Its major issues were opposing the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers standardized test, more commonly known as the PARCC test. It also launched an ad campaign seeking to force lawmakers to fully fund public-sector workers’ pension plans.

In 2014, the NJEA spent only $351,600.

The overall leaders in 2015 continued to be Princeton Public Affairs Group, which had revenues of more than $9.4 million, and Public Strategies Impact, which had revenues of nearly $6.4 million.

Of the lawyers and law firms that include lobbying as part of their practice, Gibbons remained in first place with lobbying revenues of $2,639,902 last year, up from $2,143,777 the year before. Its biggest clients were Alexandria, Virginia-based Grant Thornton, an accounting and business consulting firm, which paid $230,101 in fees; Cooper Health System of Camden, which paid $223,481 in fees; and Bethpage, New York-based Cablevision, which paid the firm $171,753.

David Pascrell, the firm’s lead lobbyist, attributed the firm’s lobbying success to “the quality of the work we do and the team we have here.”

“Build the right team of lawyer-lobbyists and the clients will react to that,” Pascrell said.

Firm lobbyist Kevin Walsh agreed.

“We’re an Am Law 200 firm,” he said. “Our government affairs team can handle issues that are at the intersection of law and politics.

“In every practice group, we have clients who have issues that happen to be in Trenton,” Walsh said.

Walsh noted that the firm recently hired Javier Diaz, former assistant counsel to Republican Gov. Chris Christie, and Jason Redd, the former deputy executive director and general counsel to the Senate Majority Office.

Gibbons lost one of its key lobbyists, William Castner, who left in November 2015 to become senior vice president for public affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.

Holding onto the second spot was Optimus Partners, which is headed by Philip Norcross, the managing partner of Parker McCay in Marlton. Norcross’ brothers are U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, D-Camden, and George Norcross, the southern New Jersey Democratic power broker. Also at that firm is Jeffrey Michaels, former chief of staff to Republican Gov. Donald DiFrancesco.

Optimus had 2015 revenues of $1,780,700, up from $1,434,150 the year before. Its major clients were the Casino Association of New Jersey, which paid the firm $175,500; Philadelphia-based Comcast, which paid $144,000; and Sayreville Seaport Association, a developer based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, that paid the firm $135,000.

Archer and its lobbying arm, Archer Public Affairs, took over the third spot, ousting Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti.

The combined Archer operation saw revenues of $1,262,612 in 2015, up from $848,748 the year before, when the group finished in fifth place.

“We weren’t here two-and-a-half years ago, but we’re now another alternative to other worthy organizations out there,” said Archer Public Affairs managing partner William Caruso. He also credited some of the firm’s success to the hiring of Lori Grifa, who was commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs under Christie.

Archer deserves a lot of credit for getting this started,” Caruso said. “There’s an absolute need for something like this out there.”

Its biggest clients were Prudential Financial of Newark, which paid $97,500 in fees; Naphcare Inc. of Birmingham, Alabama, a provider of health care services to jails and prisons, which paid $65,000 in fees; and Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Medical Center in Wilmington, Delaware, which also paid the firm $65,000.

Riker Danzig took fourth place with $1,243,069 in fees last year, compared to $1,086,975 the year before.

Its major clients were the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which paid $108,333 in fees; New Jersey Horse Racing of Freehold, which paid $100,572; and the New Jersey Bankers Association, which paid the firm $78,000.

Coming in fifth, and dropping a spot, was Porzio Governmental Affairs, the lobbying arm of Morristown’s Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, which had 2015 revenues of $1,165,762, up from $1,030,011 in 2014.

Major clients included Purchase, New York-based MasterCard International, which paid $86,764 in fees; Freehold’s Pennwood Racing Inc., which paid $84,426; and the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, which paid the firm $65,000.

Finishing sixth, and moving up three spots, was the combination of Pittsburgh’s Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott and Van Wagner Government Affairs. The group is headed by Richard Van Wagner, formerly of Trenton’s Sterns & Weinroth. The group had 2015 revenues of $569,515, compared to $534,620 the year before.

Its biggest clients were Tampa-based Citigroup Washington, which paid $96,311 in fees; Clear Channel Outdoor of Philadelphia, which paid $78,000 to the firm; and the American Insurance Association, which paid $75,000 in fees.

Coming in seventh was Impact NJ, headed by former Democratic Morris County Prosecutor Michael Murphy Jr. and by former Republican Assemblyman Guy Gregg. It had revenues of $509,515 last year, compared to $706,000 in 2014.

The firm’s biggest clients were Liberty Health System/Jersey City Medical Center, which paid $120,000 in fees; Woodbridge-based Garden State Dispensary, an alternative treatment center, which paid $90,000; and RTC Properties Inc. of Kearny, a developer that also paid the firm $90,000.

Finishing eighth and moving up two spots was Rochelle Park’s Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Fader, headed by former Democratic Gov. James Florio. The firm had $504,987 in revenues last year, up from $501,481 the year before.

Major clients of the firm were SUEZ Water, which paid $130,000 in fees; Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, which paid $84,016; and Purchase, New York-based Pepsico, which paid the firm $75,315.

Coming in ninth, and dropping three spots, was West Orange’s Wolff & Samson Public Affairs, an arm of Wolff & Samson, the firm once headed by former attorney general and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman David Samson, and its successor firm, Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi, headed by former attorney general and U.S. Sen. Jeffrey Chiesa.

Combined, the firms had revenues last year of $455,936, down from $753,198 the year before.

The firm’s major clients were Hamilton’s Health Management Systems, which paid $61,422 in fees; Providence-based IGT Global Solutions, a gaming technology company, that paid $60,000; and the Association of Dental Support Organizations, which paid $39,500 in fees.

Rounding out the top 10 was Pringle Quinn Anzano, which had $332,696 in fees last year. It was not ranked the year before.

Its biggest clients were Bank of America, based in Wilmington, which paid $56,874 in fees; Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., which paid the firm $54,456; and Meridian Health of Neptune, which paid $54,204 in fees.

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