Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has been attacking former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum for being Washington insiders, hosted a $10,000-a-head event with lobbyists and industry executives today at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C.
The Democratic National Committee immediately jumped on the event, using it to paint Romney as a Washington insider himself.
The event comes as questions of influence and lobbying are taking a large role in the campaign. Gingrich has been criticized for his work consulting for groups, such as drug companies, with Washington interests. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, has been attacking Santorum for accepting earmarks when he was a senator.
The invitation to the Romney event gives individuals or political action committees that pay $10,000 access to policy roundtables in areas of education; energy; financial institutions and markets; defense; homeland security and foreign policy; health care, and infrastructure. The invitation also lists Romney’s “industry finance chairs” for each area.
The Globe reported Sunday that Romney’s financial institutions chair 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 chair. Other Romney supporters are industry leaders, such as energy chair Tom Farrell, who is CEO of the energy company Dominion Resources.