Rubin's Clout Extends from Governor's Mansion to Legislative Halls
Around the State
The Rubin Group is one of the smallest lobbying firms on SSN’s list with only three lobbyists. Despite its size, the firm still plays a pivotal role in lobbying throughout Florida and ranks No. 4 on Sunshine State News’ list of Top Lobbyists in Florida.
In 2012, the company brought in $2.3 million in legislative fees, or about $767,000 per lobbyist.
Bill Rubin, founder of the Rubin Group, has had deep roots in Florida politics for many years. He got his start by working for Cabinet members Robert Shevin and Bill Gunter in the '70s and '80s. He later transitioned when the Republicans took over in Florida politics.
Rubin is also close with a particularly prominent figure in Florida politics: Rick Scott. The two have known each other for over 20 years and became friends when Scott was working with Columbia/HCA, which eventually became the largest private for-profit health care company in the U.S.
Like many other lobbyists, vice president of the lobbying firm, Heather Turnbull, began her career in politics as a legislative assistant in the Florida House of Representatives, working closely with Florida lawmakers. She also worked as a governmental consultant before the state Legislature for a former member of the U.S. Congress.
Governmental Consultant Melissa Akeson also boasts political experience -- she spent over 10 years working in the state Legislature, state executive branch and the Florida Cabinet.
Rubin’s ties with HCA have remained strong throughout the years. In 2012, HCA was one of the Rubin Group’s largest clients, paying the lobbying firm $150,000 in legislative fees.
The Rubin Group represents other clients as well, who vary from major health care companies to casinos and cities. Some notable clients on the Rubin Group’s list include the Florida Atlantic University Foundation, Coventry Healthcare, Florida Virtual Schools, the Richman Group and Florida Crystals. With 45 different clients, the Rubin Group’s average client retainer for 2012 was $51,000.
“Florida is such a large state with huge issues and we deal with pretty much all of the regulated areas, which touches most of these industries,” said Rubin.
When those regulated industries saw growth, so did Rubin’s lobbying firm.
“As a result of the growth and how much people are spending in Florida, we’ve enjoyed some growth too,” he said.
“We don’t have insulary practices, we don’t practice law or do press or anything like that. We’re just hands-on lobbying at the state and local level,” said Rubin of the practice.
At the end of the day, Rubin attributes the firm’s success to hard work.
“The one reputation I want us to have is that we are very hard workers," he began. "We are candid with our clients, candid with the members of the Legislature, and aggressively as possible advocate for our clients’ positions all year long."
Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.