The watchdog organizations examined campaign contributions between the start of the 2008 election cycle in January 2007 and the end of the second quarter of 2009. They identified outside lobbyists who had donated to the same members of Congress as their clients, and identified lawmakers who had received money from at least 10 of these hired, outside lobbyists.

Baucus, for example, collected contributions from 37 outside lobbyists representing PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry's chief trade association, and 36 lobbyists who listed drug maker Amgen Inc. as their client.

In all, 11 major health industry and health insurance firms had their contributions to Baucus and his leadership PAC boosted through extra donations from 10 or more of their outside lobbyists. These 11 organizations donated $252,750 to Baucus through their employees or PACs. And 109 lobbyists representing these groups donated an additional $201,000 during the two-and-a-half-year period studied.

Nor was Baucus alone — other members also received similarly large “clusters” of contributions from the employees, their family members and political action committees of health care firms and from the outside lobbyists that represented them.

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.), actually led the list, receiving $900,930 from 22 organizations and their 184 external lobbyists — though much of that money was directed at his presidential campaign last year.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) also ranked ahead of Baucus. McConnell received about $513,800 from 14 major healthcare organizations and their 127 outside lobbyists.

Four other Democratic senators on the Finance committee also received such contributions. These are Sens. John KerryJohn Forbes Kerry2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states When it comes to Colombia, America is in a tough spot 36 people who could challenge Trump in 2020 MORE (D-Mass.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerOvernight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term Obama to preserve torture report in presidential papers MORE (D-W.Va.) and Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann Stabenow10 Senate Democrats are up for reelection in Trump country At least Alzheimer’s research is bringing Washington together Senate Dems block crackdown on sanctuary cities MORE (D-Mich.).

Combined, they received roughly one-sixth of Baucus' haul. These Democrats received an average of about $19,800 in contributions per person from these clients and their external lobbyists during the two-and-a-half year period studied.

On the other side of the aisle, 60 percent of the Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee were found to have accepted campaign contributions from these major health-related organizations plus 10 or more of their outside lobbyists.

Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsOvernight Finance: Lawmakers, Treasury look to close tax law loopholes | Trump says he backs gas tax hike | Markets rise despite higher inflation | Fannie Mae asks for .7B Senators working on fix to agriculture provision in GOP tax law Trump budget would slash crop insurance funds for farmers MORE (R-Kan.) received the most in such contributions, with $130,620 from these lobbyists and their clients, followed by Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Congress fails miserably: For Asian-Americans, immigration proposals are personal attacks Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees MORE (R-Iowa), who received $78,450.

Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOvernight Finance: NAFTA defenders dig in | Tech pushes Treasury to fight EU on taxes | AT&T faces setback in merger trial | Dems make new case against Trump tax law | Trump fuels fight over gas tax What sort of senator will Mitt Romney be? Not a backbencher, even day one Lawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves MORE (R-Utah), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoBeware of the bank deregulation Trojan horse Senate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA Dems rip Trump's Fed pick as Senate panel mulls three key nominees MORE (R-Idaho), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziThe 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework Mulvaney remarks on Trump budget plan spark confusion Overnight Finance: Breaking down Trump's budget | White House finally releases infrastructure plan | Why it faces a tough road ahead | GOP, Dems feud over tax-cut aftermath | Markets rebound MORE (R-Wyo.) and John CornynJohn CornynLawmakers feel pressure on guns Kasich’s campaign website tones down gun language after Florida shooting Murphy: Trump’s support for background check bill shows gun politics ‘shifting rapidly’ MORE (R-Texas) round out the list of GOP recipients.

These Republican lawmakers received an average of $67,700 per person from these clients and their external lobbyists during the two-and-a-half year period studied.

Overall, the investigation found that since January 2007, more than 500 individual lobbyists who fit these criteria donated roughly $2.8 million to 61 members of Congress who also received about $1.9 million from the clients' PACs or employees. These lobbyists represented 25 major health care and health insurance organizations, and many lobbyists represented multiple clients. Companies with fewer than 10 lobbyists that fit these criteria were not included in this initial study.

No evidence was found that the extra giving by lobbyists was part of a planned effort by the health care firms to solidify their standing among members of Congress. The investigation does, though, strongly suggests that special interest giving is enhanced by the K Street contributors they hire, and it illustrates the intensity of the full-court press that the industry is currently waging on Capitol Hill.

So whenever you read about the big spending by PhRMA or Amgen or Blue Cross, remember: That’s probably just the beginning.