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Lobbyists Overwhelmingly Support McCain « The Washington Independent

I was just checking out a new feature at OpenSecrets.org — the Center for Responsive Politics’ website that tracks money in politics.

Among other things, you can follow the personal campaign contributions of individual lobbyists. It also lets you see which candidates have received the most money from lobbyists and political action committees (PACs).

Naturally, the first thing I did was look up Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama. McCain has raised vastly more campaign cash from lobbyists than Obama this year. Here are the figures, as of Aug. 19:

John McCain (R)

Recipient Detail

Contribution(s) found: 867

Total: $676,346

Total from individuals: $446,496

Total from PACs: $229,850

Total from joint fundraising: $692,016 [Money raised jointly with the Republican National Committee]

Barack Obama (D)

Recipient Detail

Contribution(s) found: 114

Total: $49,453

Total from individuals: $42,233

Total from PACs: $7,220

If one counts only the money from lobbyists and PACS, McCain has out-raised Obama by a margin of more than 13 to one.

However, that margin balloons rapidly when McCain’s fund-raising in conjunction with the RNC is factored in. The joint account allows McCain to continue raising money after the deadline imposed as a condition of his accepting federal financing for the general election, which Obama declined. It also allows individuals to contribute far larger amounts than allowed under federal law for direct contributions to a campaign.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to know exactly how much of the joint money goes directly to the McCain campaign. McCain receives the bulk of the joint funds, but the party takes a share, and some is distributed to support GOP congressional candidates.

Overall, Democratic candidates have raised more money from lobbyists than Republicans, according to OpenSecrets.org — $75.2 million to $65.6 million. This isn’t too surprising, given widespread expectations that 2008 will be a good election year for Democrats.

But when it comes to the race for the White House, McCain is the lobbyists’ clear favorite.

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