Consider the sector called lawyers and law firms. Clearly, lawyers and law firms lobby on behalf of their own interests—like fighting malpractice reform, which could again surface as a thorny issue for the new administration. Clinton and Obama have raised similar amounts from lawyers and law firms—$11.8 and $9.5 million. McCain and Huckabee have taken far less. The health sector has also given to Obama, Clinton, and McCain. In the pharmaceutical and health product industries, contributions to Clinton total $349,000 and $338,000 to Obama. Again, McCain trails in donations at about $98,000, an indication that the sector sees the real action on the Democratic side of the ballot. Health professionals, which include doctors, nurses, and dentists, have given Clinton some $2.3 million and Obama $1.7 million.

Last August The Boston Globe, in a piece by Scott Helman, took a hard look at Obama’s contributions, noting that “behind Obama’s campaign rhetoric about taking on special interests lies a more complicated truth.” That truth revealed that as a state legislator in Illinois, a U.S. senator, and as a presidential aspirant, Obama had collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from lobbyists and PACs. Helman quoted an Obama campaign spokeswoman saying that after he experienced firsthand the influence of Washington lobbyists, he was taking a different approach to fundraising than he had in the past, and that “his leadership position on this issue is an evolving process.” If Obama’s leadership on campaign financing is indeed evolving, more news outlets should be following the evolution.

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.