Newt Gingrich Comes to Gather K Street Money

Posted November 30, 2011 at 3:00pm

GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has rejected efforts to label him as a Washington lobbyist, but the former Speaker is coming to K Street next week for one of his first inside-the-Beltway fundraisers.

Fans of Gingrich, including some of his former aides and House colleagues who now work as lobbyists, will host a $1,000-a-head evening reception Dec. 7 at Occidental Grill & Seafood on Pennsylvania Avenue, a favorite K Street gathering place.

Hosts include tax policy expert and leading GOP donor Kenneth Kies, managing director of the Federal Policy Group, a division of Clark & Wamberg. Also hosting are ex-Reps. Bob Livingston (R-La.) and Bob Walker (R-Pa.). Livingston is founding partner of the Livingston Group; Walker is executive chairman of Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates.

Other hosts include Williams & Jensen principal Tony Roda, who worked for Gingrich when he was Minority Whip, and David Merritt, an independent health care policy expert who was CEO of the Center for Health Transformation and the Gingrich Group, two organizations that Gingrich founded.

Until now, Gingrich’s K Street backing has come largely from his former Congressional aides, a loyal group with an active alumni club. But Gingrich’s recent rise in the polls is prompting some Washington insiders to take a second look. A recent Public Policy Polling survey in Florida shows Gingrich at 47 percent, compared with 17 percent for ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Romney, too, will be back in Washington, D.C., next month. A committee of more than three dozen GOP lawmakers will host a young professionals event for Romney at the downtown Lincoln Restaurant on Dec. 14, featuring Romney’s son, Tagg, as the special guest.