The Clintons have deep fundraising ties to big business: Report

Former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks with her husband former president Bill Clinton as they attend the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian

There have long been Democrats wary of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's ties to Wall Street, and a new analysis from the Wall Street Journal and the Center for Responsive Politics may not allay those fears.

The Clintons have helped bring in more than $1 billion from U.S. companies and industry donors since former President Bill Clinton's first White House bid in the early 1990s. The newspaper and watchdog group added up speaking fees and donations the Clintons brought in during the 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns, revenues for the Democratic National Committee during Bill Clinton's presidency, Hillary Clinton's Senate and White House races and the donations to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

While the final number is not exact due to the nature of voluntary donation disclosures to the Clinton Foundation, the analysis showed that of the $2 to $3 billion the Clintons raised over the past two decades, between $1.3 and $2 billion came from big business.

About 75 percent of the money came in large donations from industry sources, a constituency from which President Obama raised less than half his campaign war chest and former Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush raised no more than 60 percent.

Hillary Clinton has faced questions about her wealth while traveling to promote her new book, and has landed in hot water for comments about being "dead broke" that she later said could have been more "artful." Clinton also attempted to separate herself and Bill from those who "are truly well off" because they pay income taxes and have earned their money "through dint of hard work."

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, is one politician who has said Clinton is too tightly connected to Wall Street. Sanders said he will entertain a presidential bid in 2016 if no sufficiently progressive politician emerges.

In an interview with Playboy in October 2013, he criticized both Bill and Hillary Clinton for their relationships with Wall Street.

"I like Bill Clinton, I like Hillary Clinton, but they live in a world surrounded by a lot of money. It's not an accident that Clinton is doing a fantastic job with his foundation. Where do you think that money is coming from? The point being that Clinton was a moderate Democrat who was heavily influenced by Wall Street and big-money interests, and Obama is governing in that same way," he said.

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a potential 2016 Democratic candidate, has also spoken negatively about Clinton's ties to the business world. In a recent interview in Time Magazine, he said, "You can't be the candidate that shakes down more money on Wall Street than anybody since, I don't know, Woodrow Wilson, and be the populist," he said.

He advised Democrats to pick their nominee in 2016 carefully, asking whether they want leaders who will "roll over and get scratched on the belly by corporations like a fat dog."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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