Sunday, May 20 , 2018, 8:42 am | Mostly Cloudy 59º

 
 
 
 

Michelle Malkin: Corporate Shills for Hope and Change

Obamacare lackeys pay lip service to cover up hypocrisy and conflicts of interest

Money from pharmaceutical firms and health-care companies is dirty, evil and corrupting — except when key members of Team Obama are pocketing it. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs derides grassroots opponents of socialized health care as industry-funded lackeys with questionable motives and conflicts of interest. But what about the corporate shills at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.?

Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin

Two weeks ago, the White House embraced $150 million in drug industry ads supporting Obamacare. Last week, Bloomberg News reported that White House senior adviser and chief campaign strategist David Axelrod’s former public relations firm, AKPD Message and Media, has raked in some $24 million in ad contracts supporting Obamacare — along with another PR firm, GMMB, run by other Obama strategists.

The ads are funded by Big Pharma, the AARP, the American Medical Association and the powerhouse Service Employees International Union (whose Purple Shirts dumped $80 million in independent expenditures to get President Barack Obama and the Democratic majority elected). In trademark Axelrod style, the special-interest coalition adopted faux grassroots names — first under the banner of “Healthy Economy Now” and more recently as “Americans for Stable Quality Care.”

Because, well, “Corporate Shills for Hope and Change” doesn’t have quite the same ring of authenticity.

Axelrod was president and sole shareholder of AKPD from 1985 until last December, when he resigned to take his White House position. His son, Michael, works there. So does former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

Axelrod is prominently featured on AKPD’s Web site, from a founder’s quote on the front page (“Change is something you have to fight for”) to the glamorous election night photos of Plouffe and Axelrod with the Obamas. AKPD still consults with Axelrod on “strategy and research” for the Democratic National Committee. The firm owes Axelrod $2 million, due in annual installments of $350,000, $650,000, $400,000 and $600,000.

That Axelrod and his old firm benefit mutually from their respective roles selling Obamacare should be gobsmackingly obvious. Axelrod pushes the White House plan on TV news shows. AKPD derives mega-income from ad contracts selling the White House-endorsed plan. The windfall allows AKPD to settle its debts with Axelrod, whose name, face and high-powered ties are critical to future wheel-greasing for AKPD — and future salary-earning for Axelrod’s son and close associates.

Gibbs called any suggestion that Axelrod benefits from the relationship “ridiculous.” He retorted: “David has left his firm to join public service.” So when Republicans trade power and access, Team Obama calls that being “in cahoots” with business. But when noble servants such as Axelrod do it, it’s called “public service.”

What else is Axelrod keeping from full public view? AKPD is just one of his influence-peddling operations. Housed in the same office as AKPD is Axelrod’s secretive former PR shop, ASK Public Strategies. That firm also owes Axelrod money from a buy-out deal — five annual installments of $200,000 each. Axelrod has remained notoriously tight-lipped about ASK’s corporate business.

One client that came to light: utility company Commonwealth Edison in Chicago. Axelrod ran a fear-mongering campaign in Illinois for ComEd in support of a huge utility rate hike — and failed to disclose that his bogus grassroots ads (under the guise of public interest group “Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity”) were actually funded by the utility. ComEd employees also pitched in nearly $182,000 in contributions to the Obama presidential campaign — more than any other company in the state, according to BusinessWeek.

What other corporate clients have hired ASK and may be benefiting from their ties to Axelrod right now? Axelrod has grown accustomed to subverting sunlight while claiming to serve “progressive” values. It’s time for Obama’s corporate-funded hypocrites to pay more than lip service to transparency. But as the sanctimonious Axelrod lectures on AKPD’s Web site: “Change is never easy.”

Michelle Malkin is author of Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild. Click here for more information. She can be contacted at [email protected]

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >