Tsamoutales Strategies a One-Stop Shop For Lobbying, Political Needs
Around the State
Not only does Tsamoutales Strategies call Florida home to a bustling lobbying practice, but the firm’s clout extends beyond the Sunshine State to Arkansas, Wyoming and many other locations across the country and the world. The two-member lobbyist team raked in $2.6 million in legislative fees during 2013, ranking the firm No. 4 on Sunshine State News’ list of Top Lobbyists in Florida.
With a team of two lobbyists, Tsamoutales Strategies brought in about $1.3 million per lobbyist.
Founder Frank Tsamoutales has a rich history in Florida politics. He’s worked on many high-profile Republican campaigns over the years, including serving on the finance committees of former Govs. Jeb Bush and Bob Martinez’s campaigns as well as Marco Rubio’s run for U.S. Senate, to name a few.
He was an avid supporter of Charlie Crist when Crist was a Republican -- Tsamoutales supported the former governor in his campaign efforts to run for attorney general and commissioner of education.
Although Tsamoutales boasts a booming lobbying shop, the firm also dabbles in other political issues, such as campaign consulting.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, vice president of Tsamoutales Strategies, has vast experience in political campaigning -- she helped out former presidential nominee -- and her father -- Mike Huckabee during his run for the Oval Office. She eventually became the executive director of Huck PAC, a national political action committee focused on electing Republicans to office in all 50 states.
“Having worked in a lot of campaigns and still being engaged in them allows me to develop relationships with elected officials,” Sanders told Sunshine State News.
Another familiar name in Florida politics also calls Tsamoutales Strategies home: former Senate President Mike Haridopolos.
Haridopolos hopped onboard at Tsamoutales earlier this year as the firm’s chief strategy officer and had already been close friends with Tsamoutales before entering into the lobbying business with him.
Sanders told SSN one aspect that makes Tsamoutales Strategies so successful is the variety of backgrounds of the firm’s lobbying team.
“We really have a collective cooperation that we use and we all have very different backgrounds and very different skill sets, so we complement each other very well,” Sanders said. “We’re not a one-dimensional firm.”
Sanders also explained that with a smaller lobbying team, everyone gets involved in meeting clients’ needs.
“We kind of have a group approach to every client,” she said. “I think that’s different than you see at a lot of firms ... it’s kind of an ‘all hands on deck’ with every client.”
On top of a team effort to lobby for clients, the firm’s small size, says Sanders, also yields deeper, more personal relationships.
“We have a better understanding of who [our clients] are, what they want, how they operate, and how best to serve them,” she explained. “I think that’s a better component that really sets us apart and allows us to be a lot more successful than even a lot of firms that are two, three, four times our size.”
The firm’s top client was conglomerate company Honeywell International, which funneled over $750,000 to the lobbying firm in 2013. Other clients included international telecommunications equipment company Harris Corp. and NASCAR race track management company International Speedway Corp.
In total, Tsamoutales Strategies had 39 clients in 2013 with an average annual retainer of $67,000 per client.
Lobbying is often more than a full-time job, but Sanders said two things make the work a little sweeter: winning and the joy of working with a great lobbying team.
“You really get to see the fruits of your labor all come together,” said Sanders on pushing successful legislation.
“As much as I love coming back to Arkansas, I miss being in our Florida office every day and working with our team, because we have a great bunch of people and we have a really good time working together,” she said.
How we rated lobbyists:
Sunshine State News staff and researchers analyzed thousands of Florida’s legislative lobbying compensation reports filed within the databases and official records maintained by Online Sunshine and the Florida Lobbyist Registration Office in Tallahassee. In order to determine SSN’s rankings, we considered a combination of three factors: a firm’s total billings, a firm’s average client annual retainer and the sum of a firm’s total 2013 fees divided by the number of lobbyists it employed last year.