Although Barack Obama has publicly disavowed campaign donations from lobbyists, the candidate, along with his rival Hillary Clinton, has received millions of dollars in donations from special-interest groups linked to the legal, pharmaceutical and health-care industries.
The Columbia Journalism Review notes that the Obama campaign did indeed take far less money from registered lobbyists — just $86,000 — through the end of December 2007 than either Clinton ($800,000) or Republican candidate John McCain ($400,000).
However, money from industry-linked special interests can follow other routes into campaign coffers besides registered lobbyists.
Citing data from the Center for Responsive Politics and Opensecrets.org, the Review notes that Obama has raised “grouped” donations in the amount of $9.5 million from lawyers and law firms (compared to Clinton’s $11.8 million).
Obama and Clinton have also raised similar amounts from the healthcare products and pharmaceutical industries — $338,000 and $349,000, respectively — as well as $1.7 million and $2.3 million each from “health professionals,” including doctors, nurses and dentists.
The Review observes that McCain has received only $98,000 from pharmaceutical and health-products donors, “an indication that the sector sees the real action on the Democratic side of the ballot.”
“Obama’s Lobbyist Line / A ‘more complicated truth’ on campaign contributions”
Columbia Journalism Review, February 15, 2008