The issue of campaign financing was raised once again during Monday’s debate between the Democrats, so we thought we’d check the numbers and see how much the candidates are getting and from whom.

Interestingly, the candidates have a lot more in common than they’d like to admit, perhaps because it’s just too difficult to raise vast sums of money for this outrageously expensive election. Keep in mind that after less than a year of fundraising, candidates in both parties have raised about $420 million.

A few points they’ve made about each other, however, are true. Hillary Clinton has raised the most money, in either party, though she is followed closely by Barack Obama.

Unlike Obama and John Edwards, Clinton has accepted money from political action committees (though not much by percentage) and lobbyists are among her top 20 donors by industry. All three Democrats, however, have gotten the most money by industry from lawyers and law firms.

Banks and investment firms can be found among all three candidates’ top donors, but they’ve given more to Clinton, and substantially less to Edwards. Although, to be fair, Clinton has raised more money overall.

The same pattern is true of the health industry. This is an important area, as all three Democrats have promised some kind of health care reform.

Edwards has suggested that Clinton and Obama cannot be trusted to carry out their plans because they’ve taken so much money from the health industry. And they have. But as a percentage of their total, the three are not that far apart.

If one looks at finances through the fall of 2007, Clinton raised roughly 3.8 percent from the health industry, Obama 3.6 percent and Edwards 2.5 percent.

Of course, Edwards’ point is valid that the others have taken more money from the health industry, but they’ve raised more overall. Surely his $537,136 comes with at least some strings attached, as he’s suggested of the others.

We all know money talks in Washington, and there’s a lot of it floating around. And the truth is, it’s a lot easier to keep track of it than it has been in the past. All the data here comes from, a web site that parses through the data to bring meaning to the math. Check it out and do some number crunching of your own.

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