Mitt Romney’s Beachfront Mansion Has Its Own Lobbyist

Romney's 3,000 sq. ft. tear down

Last year, Mitt Romney applied for a permit to bulldoze his 3,000-square-foot, $12 million home in on the beach in La Jolla, California, in order to replace it with one nearly four times its size. The “non-living” portion of the new alone will be twice the size of an Average American’s home, but Romney’s campaign said the existing, smaller “manse” was “inadequate for [the Romneys’] needs.”

Now, Politico reports that the home comes with a unique feature: Its own lobbyist. It turns out it can be difficult to get the city to approve a new 11,000-square-foot house with its own car elevators, so to help facilitate the construction, Romney hired San Diego attorney and registered lobbyist Matthew Peterson, paying him $21,500 since 2008. Reid Epstein reports:

Peterson, according to the biography on his the website of his law firm, Peterson & Price, A.P.C., is a “registered lobbyist” for clients on real-estate matters. His practice “emphasizes municipal and governmental advocacy” for clients seeking building permits, “property development entitlements” and “zoning violation matters.” […]

Listed on Peterson’s client disclosure forms as “Willard Romney,” the former Massachusetts governor paid Peterson to lobby four San Diego city officials: the project manager responsible for the planned construction, an assistant city attorney and two engineers.

Epstein reports that it’s “fairly routine” for people to hire lobbyists for “any major construction project,” given the complicated approval process and the fact that “anyone who contacts city officials or their staff regarding such a project must register as a lobbyist.”

But for a man who also owns $10 million lakefront home in New Hampshire, the details about Romney’s enormous beachfront home with its own lobbyist likely won’t help dispel notions that he’s an out of touch rich guy.

Indeed, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — who endorsed Romney yesterdayscolded the candidate last year for choosing to quadruple the size of his home during the election, adding, “He needs to stop staying in hotels and start staying with volunteers at every campaign stop.” “His job should be to take out the trash every day, and if that bag breaks, he needs to clean it up,” McCarthy said.