Axelrod profiting from ObamaCare already?
posted at 11:36 am on August 19, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Who says the Obama White House hates profiteers? It just depends on who gets the profit, it seems. Bloomberg reports that the White House has hired a couple of ad firms to push its message on ObamaCare, and just by sheer coincidence, one of them owes Barack Obama’s adviser David Axelrod a whole lot of money. They also employ his son:
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.
This year, AKPD and GMMB received $12 million in advertising business from Healthy Economy Now, a coalition that includes the Washington-based Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA, that is seeking to build support for a health-care overhaul, said the coalition’s spokesman, Jeremy Van Ess. …
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.
Sheer coincidence, I’m sure. Just like George Soros positioning himself for Petrobras dividends a few days before Obama decided to loan the Brazilian company $2 billion for offshore drilling was nothing more than a random juxtaposition of investment and public policy. Nothing to see here, folks! MoveOn!
When Dick Cheney was Vice President, the Left howled when Halliburton continued to receive contracts from the Army, almost all of them competitive-bid situations, claiming that Cheney’s deferred compensation created a conflict of interest — even though Halliburton had placed those funds in a separate escrow. If the Left thought the Cheney-Halliburton connection smelled funny, they must really have their noses out of joint with a White House that uses public money to enrich a close adviser’s son and ensure his own deferred compensation without a bidding process in place to manage it.
I’m waiting for the outrage to erupt. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting …. Wait, I have to breathe sometime.
Politico follows the money (h/t Allahpundit):
A separate firm, GMMB, is also handling the campaigns. Both AKPD and GMMB did millions of dollars of work on Obama’s presidential campaign, continue to tout their connections to the campaign and still maintain close ties to his inner circle.
The two firms were hired to make the health-care ads by a pair of linked coalitions supporting Obama’s health-care overhaul proposal—Healthy Economy Now and a newer offshoot unveiled last week called Americans for Stable Quality Care.
The Associated Press reported this month that Healthy Economy Now paid AKPD and GMMB to produce a $12 million national ad campaign echoing White House talking points supporting the health care overhaul.
And a spokesman for Americans for Stable Quality Care, which essentially supplanted the now-defunct Healthy Economy Now, confirmed that it is using the two Obama-linked firms to produce and air a separate $12 million ad campaign launched Thursday designed to shore up support among the conservative House Blue Dog Democrats and to target swing senators. The ad, which is airing in a dozen states, is the opening salvo in a campaign planned for this fall that will cost tens of millions of dollars more.
Why is the White House buying advertising at all? And if they are, why are they funneling it through an alphabet soup of organizations? For a President who talked so much about transparency, the money trail is about as opaque as it gets. It looks as though someone wanted to try some misdirection to keep from connecting the dots back to Axelrod.
Michelle has much more on this.