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Political Intelligence

Former consultant’s event to raise funds for UMass Boston

FILE/1995

Peter Berlandi, shown with former governor William F. Weld, will be honored Monday night.

There are a few tenets in political campaigning, among them: If you want the best shot at winning, you need a successful fund-raiser.

There’s also a tenet in the fund-raising world: If you want a successful event, you need an honoree who can attract a deep-pocketed crowd.

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Those tenets will intersect Monday night as the University of Massachusetts Boston holds a fund-raiser honoring one of its alumni, Peter Berlandi. He’s the political and business consultant who famously helped Republican William F. Weld win the governor’s office in 1990 after his initial choice, former attorney general Frank Bellotti, lost the Democratic primary to John Silber.

The event is expected to raise more than $500,000 for scholarships named for Berlandi and his wife, Jackie, that are designated for students from metropolitan Boston.

The event, spearheaded by Weld and Bellotti, who are reciprocating for Berlandi’s past work on their behalf, stands to be the biggest fund-raiser in the school’s history.

“It’s the difference between students who may have to work two jobs not having to do that to go to school,’’ said J. Keith Motley, chancellor of UMass Boston.

And besides boosting incoming students to the Columbia Point campus, the event sets an example for graduates.

“What it does is help others to understand how important it is to step up as alumni leaders on the campus,’’ Motley said. “It sets a great model for our future,’’

Berlandi, who graduated in 1969 from Boston State College, later incorporated into UMass Boston, is thrilled to help both his alma mater and the UMass system, which he served as a trustee.

“We pay so much attention to the private institutions around here, and deservedly so, but now, I think, people are starting to appreciate the quality of education you can get for far less money than the private schools,’’ said Berlandi.

The consultant, who has not done political fund-raising since Weld’s 1994 reelection campaign, is also happy to see his work come full circle.

“It’s nice to see, after all these years, for people to jump back in and say, ‘We really want to help,’ ’’ he said.

Romney campaign taps former aides for posts

Now that Mitt Romney is the presumptive presidential nominee, he has to quickly build up his staff to compete with President Obama across the country.

The first calls go out to people who have helped before and are familiar to the existing staff.

In Romney’s case, that means the return of Kevin Madden, who served as national press secretary for the 2008 campaign.

He will assume a hybrid role, in part working with communications aide Brian Jones as liaison to the Republican National Committee. Madden will also serve as a top Romney television surrogate in Washington and assist D.C.-based reporters.

The dashing Yonkers, N.Y., native likes to joke that he and Romney buy their hair product in 5-gallon jars.

Back, too, is former 2008 spokeswoman Sarah Pompei, a congressional aide who also worked for Romney friend Meg Whitman during her unsuccessful campaign for California governor.

Pompei is working from Boston as deputy communications director for regional press.

Brown’s seat at Sox game came from a contributor

Supporters of Senator Scott Brown defended his decision to sit in seats behind home plate for a recent Red Sox game by saying he had a longtime friendship with their holder, Giant Glass president Dennis Drinkwater.

Drinkwater sits, famously attentive, game after game, just above the “RedSox.com’’ logo as TV viewers look on for each at-bat at Fenway Park.

A check of financial records kept by the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance shows that Drinkwater has been an active contributor since 2001, largely giving to Democrats in this heavily Democratic state. But they show no donations to Brown, a Republican, during the 12 years he served in the Massachusetts House and Senate.

However, records kept by the Federal Election Commission, which tracks donations to presidential and congressional candidates, show a more recent connection, at least politically.

Drinkwater donated $500 to Brown just over a week before he won his 2010 special election campaign, beating out Democrat Martha Coakley.

On Jan. 20, Drinkwater also gave Brown $2,500, the maximum primary donation, as the incumbent geared up this year for his reelection campaign.

Drinkwater did not return a call seeking comment.

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.
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