JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A high-powered lobbying firm hired Former Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. Ballard Partners made the announcement Monday, which is the same company that previously hired Curry’s former chief of staff.
According to the firm’s press release, Curry will be a partner in its Washington, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville offices.
“This is your typical revolving door where people go from elected office into the lobbying world,” Dr. Michael Binder, a political science professor at UNF, said.
In Florida, there’s a law banning former lawmakers from lobbying state agencies for two years after leaving office. But that doesn’t apply to local leaders on the city level.
There is the so-called “Mousa Rule” which was passed by city council in late 2019. It prohibits future employment for two years if the person had a “substantial and decision-making role in securing or negotiating the contract.”
Action News Jax discovered Curry’s staff signed off on more than $2 million in city contracts with Ballard. Binder said it’s not illegal but raises ethical questions.
“The optics never look great when officials go and become lobbyists. It doesn’t matter who they’re going to lobby for.”
Brian Ballard is the firm’s president and co-chaired the Jacksonville 2020 Host Committee with Curry, which ultimately failed to stage the 2020 Republican Convention in Jacksonville.
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Curry also chaired the Republican Party of Florida.
Ballard said, “Given his extraordinary relationships and experiences, Lenny will be an invaluable advocate for the firm’s clients...”
We have reached out to Ballard Partners to learn what exactly Curry’s role will be, but we have not yet heard back.