Change has been very good to David Axelrod. It has made him an even wealthier man than he already had become crafting the media messages of clients such as Richard M. Daley and ComEd.
"As he prepared to take a job in the White House at the end of last year, David Axelrod sold the political consulting firm that helped elect President Barack Obama for $2 million to a group of consultants who helped steer Obama’s campaign," Politico reports.
"According to a disclosure form released Friday evening by the White House, the firm, AKP&D Message & Media, paid him $897,000 last year, when it had basically turned itself into an arm of the Obama campaign, which paid the company $2.5 million."
But really, that's nothing compared to the fees Axelrod and his firm have racked up over the years.
"A March BusinessWeek story highlighted how ASK [Axelrod's public affairs arm] established front groups for corporate giants, including Madison Square Garden and ComEd, to help sway public opinion on controversial initiatives in New York and Illinois, respectively," Politico notes.
"Entitled “The Secret Side of David Axelrod,” the story asserted that the firm was a master of 'Astroturf organizing' - a practice the good government groups with which Obama worked closely in the Illinois legislature and U.S. Senate have lambasted as a way to skirt lobbying laws.
"Additionally, New York State lobbying records obtained by POLITICO show that Madison Square Garden paid ASK $1.16 million to lobby in 2004 - the biggest lobbying contract of the year in the state."
Axelrod's lobbying efforts on behalf of corporate clients is counter to the message he helped create and sell for Obama during the campaign.
"Didn’t Obama run as a ‘reformer’? A man who hated lobbyists and everything they represent?" asks PoliGazette.
"Mr. Obama has enacted strict rules against hiring lobbyists for Administration positions that would have influence over their former clients," Hyer Standard notes.
Lynn Sweet of the Sun-Times reports that the clients of Axelrod's ASK were revealed for the first time in the disclosure, "including the Chicago 2016 Committee, vice chaired by Valerie Jarrett; the University of Chicago Medical Center, where first lady Michelle Obama worked as a vice president and the Chicago Children's Museum."
Sweet notes that "Obama sponsored a $1 million earmark in 2007 to help build the Children's Museum in Grant Park; a project facing opposition over the question of whether it was appropriate use of downtown park land."
Axelrod's clients also included AT&T, Comcast, and Bally Total Fitness.