Corporate Shills for Hope and Change

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

of socialized health care as
industry-funded lackeys with questionable motives and
conflicts of interest. But what about the corporate
shills at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

Two weeks ago, the White House
embraced $150 million in drug industry ads supporting

. This 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,
, run by other Obama strategists.

The ads are funded by Big Pharma,
the AARP, AMA and the powerhouse Service Employees
International Union (whose

Purple Shirts
dumped $80 million in independent
expenditures to get Obama and the Democratic majority
elected). In trademark Axelrod style, the special
interest coalition adopted faux grassroots names—first
under the

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 website, 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
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.

White House flack Gibbs called any
suggestion that Axelrod benefits from the relationship
Retorted Gibbs:

"David has left
his firm to join public service."
So when
Republicans trade power and access, Team Obama calls
that being "in
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

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."



Michelle Malkin

is the author of

Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our


for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click


for Michelle Malkin`s website. Michelle Malkin
is also author of

Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild

and the just-released
Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies.