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KP Public Affairs has slipped from its long-held position as Sacramento's top-earning lobby firm, disclosure forms released this week show. That title now goes to the Nielsen, Merksamer firm, which brought in the most money -- $4,957,730 -- during the first three quarters of the year.

KP came in second, raking in $4,626,826 between January and September, according to lobby disclosure forms filed with the Secretary of State.

Nielsen Merksamer appears to have benefited from its contract with the City of Vernon, which was the top spender among lobbyist employers during the third quarter. Vernon spent $1.6 million on lobbying during that time, while the Western States Petroleum Association, which employs KP, spent just over $1 million.

Nielsen's new position as the top earning firm for the first nine months of the year reverses a trend of at least 10 years, when KP brought in the most money among California lobby firms.

The top 10 earners from the first three quarters of 2011 are:

Lobbying Firm Name Total Payment
NIELSEN, MERKSAMER, PARRINELLO, GROSS & LEONI, LLP - $4,957,730
KP PUBLIC AFFAIRS - $4,626,826
LANG HANSEN O'MALLEY AND MILLER GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS - $4,519,243
AARON READ & ASSOCIATES, LLC - $3,908,427
CAPITOL ADVOCACY, LLC - $3,399,326
SLOAT HIGGINS JENSEN AND ASSOCIATES - $3,303,854
PLATINUM ADVISORS, LLC - $2,879,756
TOWNSEND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, INC. - $2,303,688
GOVERNMENTAL ADVOCATES, INC. - $2,072,956
THE GUALCO GROUP, INC. - $2,058,653



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