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Mr. Podesta told The Washington Times at the time that the dinner was an annual event held for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) — the fundraising arm for House Democrats — and for a number of members of Congress.

“We are filled,” he said during a friendly conversation outside his home, adding that he and his wife had erected a tent in the back of the house because of the number of people expected to attend.

Mr. Podesta also said the politicians, lobbyists and donors were not talking business but about the food, which included braised lamb, ice cream and homemade fudge for Mrs. Pelosi, an acknowledged chocoholic.

The invitation promised a seated dinner with a celebrity chef. Donors were expected to give $5,000 as guests, $15,000 as PAC supporters and $30,400 — the federal maximum to a committee — to be a host.

Mrs. Podesta is a well-known lobbyist in Washington, and her client list includes powerful special interests with big financial stakes on issues pending in Congress. Mr. Podesta founded the Podesta Group, a lobbying and public-affairs firm based in Washington, in 1988.