Kathy Shaidle

Pharma-quiddick? Axelrod's connections "don't pass the smell test"

Posted on August 21 2009 12:01 pm
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."
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Following up on his report last night, Sean Hannity brought on commentators S. E. Cupp and Kimberly Guilfoyle to discuss accusations being leveled at senior Barack Obama advisor David Axelrod.

As Guilfoyle put it, “Wake up, America. This does not pass the smell test” — “this” being the fact that Axelrod’s former P.R. firm is producing commercials for special-interest groups that stand to gain if  “Obamacare” legislation is passed.

The FOX News panel praised talk radio host (and attorney) Hugh Hewitt for writing a definitive column about this conflict of interest scandal-in-the-making. As Hewitt explained:

Most of the commentary on David Axelrod’s contract with his former political campaign and consulting firm has missed the crucial point.  People’s opinions of the appropriateness of the deal under which Axelrod will be paid two million dollars over the next many years don’t matter even in the world of public opinion because few people will know Mr. Axelrod’s name or care that he made an arrangement to continue to receive funds from his former firm while living on his otherwise much-reduced salary as a senior advisor to President Obama.

The deal itself may well be completely legal, if a little starting, to outsiders.  What matters is whether Mr. Axelrod knowingly or unknowingly broke the law in striking the deal with his former firm and then participating in negotiations with people or entities that directly or indirectly sent cash to his former firm to produce and air ads pushing the president’s health care agenda.

(…) Mr. Axelrod’s son works at his old firm.  A full inspection of the situation will require disclosure of his compensation arrangement as well as his father’s and whether or not the son has any financial obligations to the father.

“If this was a past administration,” Cupp observed, “the Democrats would already be calling for a Special Prosecutor” to investigate any improprieties. Indeed, it’s doubtful the name of Axelrod’s ASK Public Strategies will become the next “Haliburton” or “Watergate,” unless the rest of the media — beyond FOX News — decide to start doing their job.

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