How to get around Richard Corcoran's new rules — Volume 2 – Florida Politics (blog)
Second in a series.
Most people are familiar with this joke about lawyers.
Q: What do you call 2,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
A: A good start.
Well, to newly installed House Speaker Richard Corcoran, if you substitute “lobbyists” for “lawyers” in that joke, it’d be twice as funny.
Despite his brother being a lobbyist, Corcoran does not think highly of the profession and that is part of the reason why he has instituted a series of reforms which attempt to diminish the influence of the influence-peddlers.
“We must close the revolving door between the Legislature and the lobby corps,” Corcoran said last year during his designation speech. “We need to restore the distance between those who seek to influence the laws and those of us who make the laws.”
One of the key reforms Corcoran has implemented is a requirement that lobbyists file electronic disclosures on what specific issues they are lobbying for or against.
There would appear to be an easy workaround to this roadblock, err, reform.
Lobbyists, especially those at the larger firms, should file disclosures indicating they are lobbying for and/or against EVERY bill that is filed.
Say it’s out of an abundance of caution. Say you are being over-transparent. Say whatever. But if you are Brian Ballard or Chris Dudley or Nick Iarossi and you have more than 50 or 100 clients, it’s not implausible to suggest your firm has a hand in almost every bill that is filed.
Or if you are a lobbyist who represents one of the major trade groups, like the Florida Chamber of Commerce, it makes sense that you are keeping an eye on every issue before the Florida Legislature.
Here’s what how top lobbyist at one of the state’s largest firm explained how they’d work around the rules:
“We’re going to hire a Session clerk, just as we hire Session interns. The clerk’s sole job will be