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Does David Axelrod Have A Financial Conflict Of Interest In The ObamaCare Debate?

David Axelrod may have some explaining to do according to this report:

Two firms that received $343.3 million to handle advertising for Barack Obama's White House run last year have profited from his top priority as president by taking on his push for health-care overhaul.

One is AKPD Message and Media, the Chicago-based firm headed by David Axelrod until he left last Dec. 31 to serve as a senior adviser to the president. Axelrod was Obama's top campaign strategist and is now helping sell the health-care plan. The other firm is Washington-based GMMB Campaign Group, where partner Jim Margolis was also an Obama strategist.

Hugh Hewitt notes there may be a significant conflict of interest in this arrangement:

The problem is that Axelrod's former firm is currently receiving huge fees "from Healthy Economy Now, a coalition that includes the Washington-based Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA," as well as AARP, the SEIU and other big players in the health care debate. Axelrod was president and sole shareholder of AKPD from 1985 until he sold his interest after Obama's victory, government records show. The firm owes Axelrod $2 million, which it's due to pay in installments beginning Dec. 31. Axelrod's son, Michael, still works there. He didn't return a phone call. The firm's Web site continues to feature David Axelrod's work on the Obama campaign.

If Axelrod has been negotiating any part of any deal involving any of these players which are funneling money to the firm that owes him money, or if he is advising the president on the deals with any of these groups, that's a conflict of interest. Laundering the money through a "coalition" doesn't remove the conflict much less the appearance of impropriety. The coalition is in effect partially funding David Axelrod's severance package though its members might have done so unknowingly. These forthcoming payments to Axelrod are much more significant than the sort of "retained ties" that Democrats blasted Dick Cheney for vis-a-vis Halliburton even though there was no high level negotiations between the vice president and his former company


Axelrod owes voters an explanation. I eagerly await the Bush/Cheney/Halliburton inquisitor's piercing questions. BTW, Elliot Spitzer put people in jail for this sort of thing.

Update: More from Politico:

Republicans are aggressively seeking to capitalize on the AKPD connection, and the House Republican Conference distributed a one-page talking points memo Tuesday asserting the White House-PhRMA deal raises "serious questions as to whether the drug lobby is helping to bankroll a multimillion dollar severance package for one of the President's senior advisers."

The memo points out that the drug industry will profit handsomely from the deal and asks whether Axelrod "recused himself from the PhRMA 'deal,' or will he work to defend an agreement with an industry that is directly funding his son's work, and indirectly funding his own $2 million severance package?"


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Comments (30)

He's from Chicago. Are you... (Below threshold)
jim m:

He's from Chicago. Are you kidding?

Of course he's getting paid off for this. There isn't any purpose to being in politics other than getting rich (for libs it's so much more seemly to steal it from the public than to earn it in legitimate business)

Illinois hasn't sent it's last two governors to the pen for nothing (OK I'm getting a bit ahead of myself with Blago but I'm sure he'll catch up)

Every time I see and hear h... (Below threshold)

Every time I see and hear him on the news or the Sunday talk shows, I want to run and take a shower real quick.

Jim beat me to it as I was ... (Below threshold)
Paul Phillips:

Jim beat me to it as I was going to say this the Chicago way nationalized.

Im just glad that we have s... (Below threshold)

Im just glad that we have such an open and transperant administration.

We should have no problem at all getting to the bottom of this.

jim m NAILED IT! You gotta... (Below threshold)

jim m NAILED IT! You gotta problem wid dat, Hugh?

Hey, Wizbang commenters hav... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Hey, Wizbang commenters have been prescient enough to foresee this 5 days ago:

It might also be enlightening to see who got pieces of that $80 million in advertising bucks. Might some have gone to ASK Associates, David Axelrod's PR firm? To certain newspapers or TV networks that could use the financial support right now? Or some other cronies of the Obama administration?

41. Posted by Hamish | August 14, 2009 2:23 AM "

Lucy... You got some 'splai... (Below threshold)

Lucy... You got some 'splainin' to do!!!!

I'm sure this story will ge... (Below threshold)

I'm sure this story will get major coverage in the NYT, WaPo, the major broadcast news networks and the Libbie cable news networks.

I'm sure AP is sending full-time investigative reporters to Chicago at this very minute, since they're no longer needed in Anchorage and are available for reassignment.


Thats akin to asking if th... (Below threshold)

Thats akin to asking if the sun comes up in the east. EVERYONE in this administration is corrupt, way beyond corrupt , down right evil.

Oh, Les, you're making me b... (Below threshold)

Oh, Les, you're making me blush...

I have to confess, though, my speculation was purely unfounded. I'm almost surprised that it came true.

Almost, but not quite.

No, He's squeaky clean... ... (Below threshold)

No, He's squeaky clean... Just like MJs plastic banana unbeholdst nose arranger...

God help the Fruit of this loom.

So far from the MSM.....cri... (Below threshold)

So far from the MSM.....crickets.

Man, it's gotta be hard to ... (Below threshold)

Man, it's gotta be hard to be a "journalist" today. There are many, many meaty stories to cover that would destroy many a political career but these "journalists" can't do their job because it would hurt "their" party. Pretty sad really.

Excellent point, CDR M.... (Below threshold)

Excellent point, CDR M.

There's the axlerod kickback story here and
I just noticed reports that Obama will fund Brazilian offshore oil development and research for the Brazilian owned Petrobas.

Ironically, per Gateway Pundit, "Barack Obama's top supporter George Soros is heavily invested in Brazilian oil- Petrobras. Soros made a major purchase last week before the news broke that the US would invest in the Brazilian oil company."

" So far from the MSM.....c... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

" So far from the MSM.....crickets. "

Don't worry. The usual Dem hacks will show up here in the comments and cite a Google search that shows this story was covered on page 23 of the Picayune Gazette or mentioned briefly in the Bloomberg News Wire.
They will then claim this as proof that the story has been 'extensively covered'.

Just imagine if Karl Rove had this much of a kickback. How much coverage would that get?

Among the geopolitical rea... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Among the geopolitical reasons for the lending of money for this project, which I understand is two hundred hundred miles off the south east coast of Brazil, the Obama administration would like to lesson America's dependence on importing Venezuela oil,

11% das importações americanas de petróleo vêm da Venezuela, mas que o governo dos EUA já está "de olho" há meses nos novos campos de petróleo encontrados no Brasil, tendo, inclusive, reativado sua frota para a América do Sul e o Caribe, composta de 11 embarcações.

and the threat of a increased international petroleum ties/negotiations between Iran and Brazil.

No coverage?No sto... (Below threshold)
Victory is Ours:

No coverage?

No story.


"...the Obama administratio... (Below threshold)

"...the Obama administration would like to lesson America's dependence on importing Venezuela oil."

Gee, maybe we should lessen our dependence on foreign oil by drilling off our own shores. I'll bet our oil companies would do it without a government loan, and our government could collect tax revenues off the oil.

By the way, I thought our President was all for creating "green" jobs, and getting us off of oil.

Vic, is that hypocrisy in t... (Below threshold)

Vic, is that hypocrisy in the air?

Halliburton this.

"No coverage?No st... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"No coverage?

No story."

No kidding.
The media isn't just biased in what they report and how they report it - they're also biased in what they choose not to report.
But you already know that.

Surprise, surprise - confli... (Below threshold)

Surprise, surprise - conflict of interest. Imagine that in the Obama administration. About the only thing those thugs have not done is commit murder, but then again, no bodies have been found yet. Who knows? With all the criminals and paid "friends" he closely associates with, we could find a body or two in the near future. Close friend and "confidant" Ayers tried to kill numerous people. Is that in the Obama agenda?
Just asking

Wizbang comment moderation ... (Below threshold)

Wizbang comment moderation seems to be blocking my posting a link to Palin's Facebook smackdown of Obama and the Brazil drilling.

No davidt, thats Obamas SS ... (Below threshold)

No davidt, thats Obamas SS internet security force trying to work the bugs out before the next selection cycle.

No coverage?No sto... (Below threshold)

No coverage?

No story.


Quite true Vic. When you're a whore in the bag for Barry, the prime tenet is "If we don't report it, it didn't happen". So much for the duty of the '4th estate' to keep an eye on government. You'd think it would be an easy job when you're in bed with the president.

Wurst Presidente evah.</p... (Below threshold)

Wurst Presidente evah.

"No coverage?No st... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"No coverage?

No story."

Vic -

You're right. And John Edwards never did have an affair.

Sorry man. The MSM has no credibility left when it comes to determining what is news.

It all boils down to whethe... (Below threshold)

It all boils down to whether people feel they can trust President Obama. And unfortunately President Obama blew that trust out the window on July 21st when he told a blatant lie to a national TV audience on the Today Show. And to make it worse, it was a blatant lie that at least 40 million Americans knew instantly was a blatant lie:

"In the six months I've been here, the only tax change I've made has been to cut taxes."

40,000,000 American smokers knew that one of Obama's very first acts in office had been to raise their taxes by 150%. Another two million Americans, those so poor that they'd been forced to roll their own from shreds of tobacco and scraps of paper, knew that their taxes had been raised by an incredible 2,000%. There's a very big difference between breaking campaign promises and bare-faced lying.

See the clip and read the story yourself at:


and then ask yourself if you Axelrod is telling the truth when you can't even trust the PRESIDENT to!

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Many apologies for the doub... (Below threshold)
Michael J. McFadden:

Many apologies for the double post. The first one didn't seem to go through.


Michael, this POS we have f... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Michael, this POS we have for President lied when he put his hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Consititution of the United States. As a Constitutional lawyer, Obama knew his agenda calls for acts outside the authority given by that document. He lies and knows it.

Wizbang comme... (Below threshold)

Wizbang comment moderation seems to be blocking my posting a link to
Palin's Facebook smackdown of Obama and the Brazil drilling.

Nope, done't know what the problem is, at least on my end.






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