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    Lobbyists Donate $1.6Mln to 3 US Senators Running for President - Watchdog

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    A US campaign finance watchdog group reports that three of the five US Senators vying to win the 2016 US Presidential election have received a combined sum of nearly $1.6 million from lobbyists.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Three of the five US Senators vying to win the 2016 US Presidential election have received a combined sum of nearly $1.6 million from lobbyists, a US campaign finance watchdog group said in a press release on Friday.

    In all, [US Senator Lindsey] Graham has taken in $753,841 during his congressional career from current or one-time federally registered lobbyists,” the release, issued by OpenSecrets.org, stated. “[Marco] Rubio and [Ted] Cruz have received $571,952 and $265,043 from the same group, respectively.”

    The three candidates, according to the release, have received significant contributions from lobbyists that represent the defense industry, private equity firms and Qatar-based cable network Al Jazeera.

    “Rubio has Ignacio Sanchez, a presidential bundler for Mitt Romney in 2012… he represents Al Jazeera Satellite Network,” the release said.

    Rubio, Cruz and Graham each have at least one lobbyist donor who has donated in excess of $20,000 to their campaigns, the release explained.

    Senator Rand Paul has raised $82,050 from lobbyists while Senator Bernie Sanders has received $50,075, according to the release.

    Paul and Sanders both criticized the influence of lobbyists as they announced their presidential bids, the release said.

    The analysis only covered sitting US Senators, the release noted, although former Secretary of State and New York Senator Hillary Clinton has recently reached out to prominent lobbyists.

    For former governors like Rick Perry and Jeb Bush, data on lobbyist donations are unavailable, according to the release.

    On June 2, 2015, a coalition of reform groups sent a letter to US Senators urging them to pass the Lobbying and Campaign Finance Reform Act, which would limit lobbyist donations to $2,700 per election, according to Democracy 21.


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