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Angie Drobnic Holan
By Angie Drobnic Holan April 17, 2008

Clinton accepts lobbyist money

If you were wondering how Washington works, an ad from the Barack Obama campaign ostensibly offers a primer – "A Guide to Understanding Washington Lobbyists" — while it attacks Hillary Clinton.

The Web-only ad outlines the following steps with on-screen text:

Step 1: "Lobbyists donate to politicians."

Step 2: "Politicians defend lobbyists."

Step 3: "Americans pay the price."

As part of the first step, the ad states:

"Senator Hillary Clinton has taken over $800,000 from lobbyists, more money than any other candidate — Republican or Democrat:

* Over $130,000 from energy lobbyists

* Over $130,000 from drug company lobbyists

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* Over $125,000 from health care and insurance lobbyists."

We asked the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which categorizes and analyzes political contributions, whether this text was accurate.

The $800,000 number is correct. A recent analysis by the center showed Clinton has accepted $865,290 from lobbyists, based on data released on March 20, 2008.

The threshold of contributions by industry the ad lists for Clinton is probably too low, said Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for the center.

The center's analysis found the following amounts that lobbyists gave to Clinton:

* Energy: $442,800

* Pharmaceuticals/health products: $450,450

* Hospitals, health services/HMOs and insurance companies: $552,050

* Health professionals: $114,755.

Based on these numbers, we find Obama's statement that Clinton has taken more than $800,000 from lobbyists to be True.

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