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New College Employs Ballard Partners for Federal Legislative Goals

Manatee County Government entered into an agreement with the same international lobbying firm earlier this year


New College of Florida has hired one of Florida’s top lobbying firms, Ballard Partners, to monitor its interests in federal infrastructure and education legislation. The international lobbying firm landed another local contract for services earlier this year with the Manatee County Government.

According to public relations online news publication O’Dwyer’s, New College of Florida is seeking to raise $400M in state funding over the next five years to achieve its vision of fostering a "community of free thinkers, risk takers and trailblazers."

O’Dwyer’s reported that Brian Ballard, who was Donald Trump’s chief fundraiser in Florida, and Daniel McFaul, ex-chief of staff to Florida Republican Matt Gaetz, will work to represent New College Foundation's financial goals.

The contract with Ballard Partners follows a nearly year-long timeline of change initiated by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at the institution. On Jan. 6, DeSantis appointed six members to New College's board, setting out to transform the top-ranked liberal arts college into a conservative institution.

For Ballard Partners, the latest high-profile contract comes as the firm has made several significant announcements this year and reached new contract agreements.

At the start of the year, former Manatee County commissioner Vanessa Baugh suggested commissioners should hire Ballard Partners as the county’s next federal lobbyist and presented a contract proposal during a work session meeting without having added the item to the meeting’s agenda. The county attorney advised commissioners that they should start the process of seeking new representation with a “Request for Proposals,” putting the item out to bid to “explore all options.”

"I think the board should understand, those firms have a lot of really high dollar clients. Some of the clients have a huge amount of money that they are spending…the firm will prioritize way in advance as they go into Congress,“ Manatee County Attorney William Clague advised at the time.

However, in March, Manatee County Commissioners voted unanimously to direct the county’s procurement department to move forward with hiring Ballard Partners to represent Manatee County’s interests in Washington through a noncompetitive single-source contract.

In June, Ballard Partners announced it was opening its first African office in Abuja, Nigeria, the nation’s capital. Nigeria’s former Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, was appointed as managing partner of the international lobbying firm’s Abuja office and the firm’s satellite office in Lagos, the nation’s financial center.

Led by President David Ballard, the international lobbying firm carries a team of over 50 full-time partners and has nine offices in Florida, including in Tallahassee, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Sarasota, Tampa, and West Palm Beach. Additional locations, according to the firm’s website, include Washington D.C., Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Boston, Los Angeles, and Abuja-Lagos.

As one of Florida’s top-earning lobbying firms, Florida Politics reported that Ballard Partners has earning estimates of over $7.7 million. Second-quarter compensation reports showed the firm earned nearly $7.6 million from its state-level lobbying clients—$4.33 million for lobbying the Legislature and $3.23 million for lobbying the executive branch.

This summer, the firm announced that former Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry was joining the firm as a partner in its Washington, Tallahassee and Jacksonville offices. 

More recently, in Sept., the firm announced that Michael LaRosa—former press secretary to First Lady Jill Biden—had joined the team as a partner in its Washington D.C. office. Before joining the President as special assistant, LaRosa was Jill Biden’s Chief Spokesperson for the inauguration, the Biden-Harris transition team, the Biden-Harris Campaign and Joe Biden’s campaign for the Presidential nomination during the 2020 Democratic Primaries. LaRosa is the first Biden administration official to join the mostly Republican firm.


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  • Cat L

    The polarizing and negatively oriented marketing that lobbying firms tend towards recently is undermining American society. They celebrate divisiveness, when Americans need to be brought together. The conflict and distractions assure that shenanigans politicians engage in on behalf of those who give them money, don't get noticed as much... And in the wake of marketing campaigns, Americans are left thinking they have enemies within their own community, and are encouraged to blame it on the "other guy," whom they also need to completely shut out.

    No one ever solved anything by lack of communication.

    Wednesday, November 29, 2023 Report this