White House flack Gibbs called any suggestion that Axelrod benefits from the relationship "ridiculous." Retorted Gibbs: "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 like 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 website: "Change is never easy."