New No. 1 among Mass. lobbying firms
Smith Costello & Crawford moves into top spot
SMITH COSTELLO & CRAWFORD vaulted into the top spot among Massachusetts lobbying firms in 2019, raking in $4.2 million in fees and displacing the prior king-of-the-hill, ML Strategies.
Smith Costello & Crawford has grown rapidly over the last four years, jumping from just over $1 million in revenues in 2016 to $3.2 million in 2018. Its growth has been fueled by clients in the marijuana, health care, energy, and gaming industries. Its biggest client, bringing in $432,000 in revenues last year, was Mass Gaming and Entertainment, which is seeking to build a casino in southeast Massachusetts.
Jim Smith, the founding partner of the lobbying firm, said his company’s business and lobbying in general are experiencing substantial growth in Massachusetts. “Things just get more complicated with the government and there are more things going on,” he said.
ML Strategies, the consulting and lobbying affiliate of the law firm Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo, came in second with nearly $3.7 million in revenues. Its biggest client, at $413,311 in revenues, was the company that owns the Encore Boston Harbor casino, which opened last year.
The 10 biggest spenders on lobbying last year were all familiar names on Beacon Hill. Five were in the health care field, led by the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, Partners HealthCare, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and the Association for Behavioral Healthcare.
Other big spenders among the top 10 were Mass Gaming & Entertainment, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the utility Eversource, and Wynn MA LLC.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts ranked twelfth in spending, at $384,925. Children’s Hospital of Boston ranked eighteenth, spending $320,029, and Uber Technologies ranked twentieth, spending $313,932.
The offshore wind industry is starting to spend heavily on lobbying in Massachusetts. Equinor Wind, which owns an offshore lease but has yet to bid on a power purchase contract with the state’s utilities, spent $281,403 on lobbying last year, all of it with ML Strategies. Orsted Wind North America spent $239,853, half of it with Smith Costello & Crawford.Vineyard Wind, whose first-in-the-nation offshore wind farm proposal experienced a big setback in August when the federal government put the project on hold to broaden its environmental review, spent $125,000 lobbying during the first six months of last year but nothing in the second half.
Interestingly, Mayflower Wind, which was selected as the winner of the state’s second offshore wind procurement, reported no lobbying expenditures at all last year.