Faughnan: It’s Time for Some Tough Questions

By Brian Faughnan
Aug. 18, 2009

Would a Republican president get away with this type of questionable dealing?

The White House has cut a deal with those evil drug makers – the ones who have been charging an arm and a leg for their products, and fighting ‘sensible’ reforms, and generally been very bad people. The deal apparently guarantees that the drug companies won’t have to give up too much profit in legislation to remake America’s health care system. But neither side will disclose what’s in the deal. The drug makers – either as part of a quid pro quo with the White House, or perhaps because they are thrilled at their luck – launch an advertising campaign in support of the president’s plan. This is worthy of some serious investigation to start with.

But now it has come out that the drug companies have hired the media firm founded by the White House Chief of Staff – who left the firm a scant few months ago, and who was owed $2 million when he left:

The House Republican Conference digs in today to a fact reported recently by Bloomberg’s Tim Burger: That the pharmaceutical lobby, PhRMA, has hired the firm David Axelrod founded, AKPD Media — a fact that raises eyebrows because Axelrod sold the firm under an agreement that left it owing him $2 million, a lot of money for a political media company.

It’s hard to imagine a situation in which, say, Karl Rove was still getting checks from a firm that was, in turn, employed by the drug lobby not drawing fire from the left, and Axelrod’s arrangement is, a bit belatedly, getting that attention.

Why is Phrma using David Axelrod’s firm? Has Axelrod received all the money owed him by AKPD? Did he encourage Phrma to hire AKPD – or did anyone in the White House? Is this contract a condition of Phrma’s deal with the White House?

We’ve seen that pay-for-play is common in Chicago – the hometown of Barack Obama, David Axelrod, and Rahm Emanuel. It sure looks like that’s what’s going on here.

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