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October 6, 2010 at 9:11 AM

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Patty Murray No. 2 in political contributions from lobbyists

Posted by Kyung M. Song

Updated at 11:50 a.m. with response from Murray's campaign.

WASHINGTON -- Lobbyists have given $666,000 to Sen. Patty Murray's reelection efforts since 2009, making her the second-highest recipient of the industry's political contributions among all members of Congress, according to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Only Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took in more money from lobbyists during the current election cycle, the analysis found.

As we reported previously, lobbyists are the biggest donors to Murray's campaign and to M-PAC, her leadership political-action committee. Lawyers are a close second, with $664,000 in contributions. Through end of July, Murray has raised a total of $13.1 million for her reelection and PAC.

Murray's Republican challenger Dino Rossi is seizing on that fact to portray the three-term Democrat as an entrenched incumbent who is beholden to special interests. Rossi's camp also points to a recent Seattle Times report that at least 17 former Murray staffers have gone into lobbying. Some of them have cashed in on the connection by securing federal earmarks through Murray on behalf of client companies.

Murray's campaign has noted that Rossi has held fundraisers hosted by lobbyists and hedge fund managers.

In an e-mail, Murray campaign spokeswoman Julie Edwards said a large majority of Murray's contributions come from small donors and from Washington state (34 percent of the money Murray has raised since 2009 has come from out of state, according to Center for Responsive Politics).

"In stark contrast, Mr. Rossi has consistently taken money from corporate donors and then pushed their agenda - from Wall Street repeal to maintaining tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas," Edwards said.

"Worse, he is benefiting from millions of dollars in attack ads targeting Senator Murray from groups that don't disclose their donors at all. We have no idea who is funding these attacks and why and Mr. Rossi won't support the DISCLOSE Act which would make these groups come clean."

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Jim Brunner
Covers politics.

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Andrew Garber
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

Emily Heffter
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Kyung Song
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Bob Young
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