From the Daily News:
A growing trend in the state capital is raising alarms for ethics watchdogs: political consultants who work to elect lawmakers, then turn around and lobby them on behalf of private clients.
At least two dozen political consulting firms are also registered lobbyists with the state, according to an analysis done for the Daily News by the New York Public Interest Research Group.
Those 29 firms were paid a combined $5.1 million for election work in 2011 and 2012, the analysis shows.
When the campaigns were over, they descended on the Legislature as part of the $200 billion annual lobbying culture.
“It’s one more way that legislators and lobbyists are often connected at the hip,” said NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney.
He suggested state leaders consider barring the practice as they negotiate a possible campaign finance reform package.
“Many of these lobbyists who are helping elected officials win these seats turn around then tell them how to vote on specific bills,” Mahoney said. “It’s an area they should at least look at.”
No one has played the dual role better than the Parkside Group, a consulting firm with close ties to Senate Democrats.
Parkside took in $2.77 million from campaigns the past two years and $1.8 million in lobbying fees last year alone.
One senator Parkside represents is Queens Democrat Toby Stavisky, the mother of Parkside partner Evan Stavisky and ranking minority member of the Senate Higher Education Committee. An ethics ruling allows Stavisky’s firm to lobby his mom, but not him personally.
“We are proud of the work we do for a variety of clients and we pride ourselves on upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct in all of our activities,” Evan Stavisky said.
Parkside is not alone. The Advance Group, the Mirram Group and Mercury Public Affairs are among other notable groups that play both roles.