By BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says his consulting business never lobbied. But records show that he hired state and federal lobbyists, and some staff left to take lobbying jobs.
Gingrich's Center for Health Transformation hired a former Georgia lobbyist, a former Missouri state agency director who lobbied and a Washington lobbyist who worked for a firm led by former Oklahoma congressman J.C. Watts.
Gingrich has been a target of criticism from Republican rival Mitt Romney, who says the former House speaker peddled his influence from years in Congress to hundreds of corporate clients. Gingrich has insisted he did no lobbying.
His former consulting business won't release its client list. But The Associated Press has identified more than 200 companies that paid about $42 million to Gingrich's business since 2003.