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Romney hosts $10,000-a-head event for lobbyists

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has been attacking former House speaker Newt Gingrich and former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania for being Washington insiders, hosted a $10,000-a-head event with lobbyists and industry executives yesterday at the JW Marriott in Washington.

The event comes as questions of influence and lobbying are taking a larger role in the campaign.

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Gingrich has been criticized for his work consulting for groups with Washington interests, such as drug companies. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, has been attacking Santorum for accepting earmarks when he was a senator.

Also, Santorum worked as a consultant for an energy company and a lobbying firm after he lost his Senate seat.

The invitation to the Romney event gives individuals or political action committees that pay $10,000 access to policy roundtables in a number of areas, including education, energy, and financial institutions.

Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz accused Romney of being a hypocrite for attacking Santorum while hobnobbing with lobbyists.

“If you are a hedge fund manager or a Wall Street tycoon, for $10,000 you can sit with Mitt Romney and discuss repealing Wall Street reform and betting against the housing market,’’ Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

The Globe reported Sunday that Romney’s financial institutions chairman Patrick Durkin is a lobbyist and managing director of Barclay’s Capital who bundled $606,950 for Romney in the last half of last year. William Hansen, a former federal education official who has lobbied for the Motion Picture Association of America, is the education chairman.

Other Romney supporters are industry leaders, such as energy chairman Tom Farrell, who is chief executive of the energy company Dominion Resources.

Globe reporter Michael Levenson contributed to this story. Shira Schoenberg can be reached at sschoenberg@globe.com.
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