A Day In The Life Of A Tallahassee Lobbyist





Veteran Tallahassee lobbyist Jack Cory will tell anybody what he thinks of the strict ethics laws that ban gifting legislators with meals or a bottle of water.

“Nobody who is honest, moral, legal and ethical is going to sell their soul for a meal,” Cory told a WLRN-Miami Public Radio in a profile of him broadcast this week.


anti-gang-jcory7-07Jack Cory watches a presentation




Cory’s comments has relevance for Broward, where ethic laws revisions are being discussed.

Cory knows that the ethics law is not about the free meal. It is about the access.

It is about a lobbyist having the meal with a lawmaker, spending time that the average voters can’t get with him or her.

I’ve been to charity dinners in the past where the room was sprinkled with county commissioners. Again, it is not so much the free meal. It is that the commissioners sat at tables the entire evening with folks doing business with the county.

What is access like that worth?

Spending $250 for that charity meal ticket to sit with a commission for an hour or so is money well spent by lobbyists.

Cory is right about one thing:

Today’s law is ridiculously strict in Tallahassee and Broward. Folks should be allowed to give legislators or commissioners a pencil or a bottle of water.

My take:

Lobbyists also should be allowed to buy them meals, as long as it is disclosed almost instantly in a prominent place on the Internet.

On a personal note, Cory started in Broward was one of the first behind-the-scenes political figures I ever met. He was a campaign consultant in West Broward with a several important lobbying clients in the mid-1970s.

Moving to Tallahassee, Cory quickly became a force in the state Capital. He has been there long enough at this point that he has become a fixture.

I ended up working for Cory approximately 40 years ago while between newspaper gigs. He taught me a lot about politics, lobbying and government.

It is good to see my old boss Cory getting some recognition on WLRN this week. For those who didn’t hear the report, you can listen to it through this link.

14 Responses to “A Day In The Life Of A Tallahassee Lobbyist”

  1. Been around says:

    You could always rely on Jack to understand the issues and to tell you the truth … those are two of the most important traits that a lobbyist can have.

  2. John Henry says:

    What Jack fails to understand is that it only starts out with a “harmless meal.” The next thing you know your aboard a yacht slipping a doggie bag full of cash into your purse.

    Sorry but it wouldn’t surprise me if some on the dias would sell their souls for a meal—or something even less.

  3. Dont Believe Your Own B S says:

    My take as an elected official rules to follow.

    Buy your own food, water, booze, fine wine, finer whine (escort), i-pads, writing instruments, sticky-note pads, custom stationary, yellow note pads, vacations at exclusive resorts, do not include your family in YOUR lack of judgement involving private yachting trips.

    Shut up do the job you were elected to do with HONESTY and INTEGRITY, take nothing from anyone.

  4. thomas lubart says:

    he was quite a character back then, and I’m sure he’s even more of one now. a shout out to a long lost pal.

  5. The real issue says:

    Obviously the issue is not “a meal” or ” a bottle water”. The issue is curtailing the practice of giving anything to get better access is the goal.

    Why cant a lobbyist schedule a time to meet an elected official at their office to pitch their position.

    Why does anyone have to buy anyone anything to espouse their position?

  6. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    One, I miss buddy begins in the sun sentinel,
    two his blog is both entertaining n informative,
    three I think corruption exists because most people don’t see the connection between government n their own lives,
    four you can’t corrupt an honest person


    Thanks for you kind comments.

    You may miss me in the Sun-Sentinel — I deeply appreciate everyone I hear that from — but I don’t miss one minute of it. I got out of the failing newspaper business when the getting was good. I love being largely retired and being able to do anything I want at any time I want (with the permission of my wife, of course.).
    Everybody should try retirement!

  7. tell the truth says:

    it is ‘influence peddling’
    whether specific topics come up over dinners or not, its implied because positions are ‘known’
    and electeds know if they vote the wrong way per the Influence Peddler (lobbysit) the invites to dinners and charity functions eating chats will change or stop altogether (You can take that to the Bank)

    thats why Feds call it Theft of Honest Services

    because its not arms length or non-existant (influence)
    electeds should be doing and voting per their constituency, not pork barrel projects or whatever

    anyway smart readers here will get the point

  8. Floridan says:

    “Why does anyone have to buy anyone anything to espouse their position?”

    I’m not a lobbyist, and my experience is that the average citizen can have good access to their elected officials so long as what they want to talk about is:
    1) An issue over which the commission (city or county) has some purview,
    2) The constituent understands the issues and what can and can’t be done about it
    3) The official is approached in a businesslike manner
    4) The constituent is prepared for questions an commissioner might ask, such as “what is the alternative and how much will it cost?”

    I think most people overestimate the amount of time lobbyists spend face-to-face with elected officials; quite often a quick phone call will do (“Call me if you have any questions about agenda item X”).

    The power of lobbyists, in my opinion, is that they know the subject backward and forward. They know the state regulations governing the issue, they know the various reviews an issue must go through prior to it reaching the commission and they know that often the best way to get what you want is to compromise.

    On the other hand, when average citizens want something (or, more often, oppose a measure) they will frequently rely on emotion and display a lack of knowledge about the intricacies of the issue (for instance, if you are going to oppose a project because it will increase traffic, you had better understand how traffic generation rates are developed).

    Yes, lobbyists have an advantage, not because they buy dinners for or sit at a charity event with elected officials, but because they treat it like a business (which, for them, it is) and are good at what they do — which is why clients are willing to pay $500+/hour for their services.

  9. Billyknowsall@aol.com says:

    Why was my truth not put up mr nevins.
    It was the truth he worked as a CA against the former mayor.

  10. modeengunch says:

    Wow. I met Jack through an old Palm Beach County grouse named Bob Hutzler back in the early 70’s. If Jack reads this, I want him to know Bob died 3 months ago.

  11. Sunnysider says:

    I think the keywords are “honest, moral, legal and ethical”. It doesn’t seem like we see many of those traits in our elected officials. We have seen school board members, legislators, mayors, governors and many others who have sold out those they are suppose to represent and it didn’t take much. We live in a country where the people with the most money get to control the elected officials locally and on a state and national level right up to the supreme court. Let those who represent us buy their own bottled water and give equal access to their constituents not just to lobbyists who can buy their influence and votes.

  12. City Activist robert Walsh says:

    I keep telling my striper gal-pals hang on to those double D’s(everybody loves tities) gals because your wish is their command. I mean look at the revelations this past month w/ this Lt. to this officer etc., to some top brass fooling around w/ these hookers. I mean a meal, who cares. Some of these people are just plain pigs. Eat away -I say. I mean I hardly think these elected officals are going to sell their souls over a cheap chianti and some overpriced steak. Real problem doesn’t come from the lobbyist its the whore seeken pigs out there(many)……

  13. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Completely agree with #3, just writing to describe a way to do that.

    First, prohibit all in-person meetings with lobbyists.

    Secondly, require that all advocacy aimed at politicians be delivered online as follows: any group or individual can submit any text, music, video, etc. to the politician on any issue, provided that these submissions are instantly viewable online by anyone, keyword searchable, and keyword alertable (i.e., any submission tagged with a keyword you are following results in a copy of that submission being instantly emailed to you), and tagged with either the identity or identities of the sender(s) or the special tag “anonymous”. Identity tags are keywords and can be used for alerts.

    The effect of money would then be seen in the creation of high-budget videos to be submitted. The slicker the production, the more certain you can be that Big Money is behind it.

  14. Ha Ha Ha says:


    Florida Legislature 2014: What passed and what failed


    ELECTIONS (FAILED): Creates online voter registration system by 2015. (HB 667/SB 784)

    ETHICS (PASSED): Allows Commission on Ethics to initiate some cases, requires lobbyists at water management districts to register and disclose fees, requires ethics training for local officials. (SB 846)

    RESIDENCY (FAILED): Requires state and local candidates for public office to adhere to new residency requirements. (HB 571/SB 602)


    ACCESS TO RECORDS (FAILED): Improves public access by, among other things, clarifying that records requests need not be in writing; allows attorneys seeking records to be paid for time spent negotiating for fees. (HB 1151/SB 1648)


    STADIUM FUNDING (PASSED): Enables professional sports franchises to compete for new sales tax subsidies to help fund stadium construction and renovations. (HB 7095)


    MOTORIST POLICY (PASSED): Reduces driver’s license suspensions for minor offenses; requires motorists on left-hand lane to move to the right when overtaken from the rear; requires motorists to move over when approaching a parked utility or sanitation vehicle. (HB 7005)