Chicago Sun-Times
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Obama advisor David Axelrod sells stakes in Chicago firms for $3 million


David Axelrod during the campaign. (photo by Lynn Sweet)

WASHINGTON--White House senior advisor David Axelrod, the founder of Chicago based political and public affairs firms, took a $3 million buyout--spread over five years-- when he joined the Obama administration, according to newly released disclosure reports.

On top of that, last year, when Axelrod was the top advisor to the Obama presidential campaign, he hauled in a total of $1.5 million in salary and partnership income from the two companies.

Axelrod's original firm, AKP&D Message and Media, founded in 1985, is known for its political campaign work with Chicago and national candidates. Axelrod handled Obama's Senate race and is the media consultant for Mayor Daley.

The secretive ASK Public Strategies, with private sector clients, was launched in 2002 and specializes in civic and corporate controversies, addressing them through public campaigns and media consulting.

Of his haul from AKP&D, Axelrod earned $896,776 in salary and another $500,000 from his cut as a partner. The Obama campaign was AKP&D's main client during the presidential cycle.

While working basically round the clock on the Obama campaign, Axelrod's partnership check from ASK totaled $151,914.

The disclosures, required of all top level White House staff, also reveal for the first time, ASK Public Strategies clients, including the Chicago 2016 Committee, vice chaired by Valerie Jarrett, now a top White House advisor; the University of Chicago Medical Center, where First Lady Michelle Obama worked as a vice president and the Chicago Children's Museum, promoted by Mayor Daley.

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 ASK buyout deal calls for five annual installments of $200,000 starting next December 31. AKP&D's stock purchase deal also begins at the end of the year and calls for annual payments of $350,000, $650,000, $400,000 and $600,000.

Axelrod transferred interests in a documentary film production company called Franklin Street Productions (the street where the Axelrod firms are located) to his wife, Susan on March 9. The company, listed as dormant, was founded in 2002.

ASK Public Strategies Clients

Alliance to Protect the Illinois Constitution

The Art Institute


Bally Total Fitness Corp.

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Chicago 2016 Committee

Chicago Children's Museum

Civic Committee Foundation


Commonwealth Edison Company

Consumers Organized for Reliable Energy


Illinois Trial Lawyers Association

Media Rights Capital II

Motion Picture Association of America

University of Chicago Medical Center


Good for Mr. Axelrod.

Too bad he is nearly a lobbyist for all of those companies, i'm sure Mr. Obama will take him to the woodshed now.


Another enabler of Chicago Crooks.

So what? He could make 10 million like Sarah Palin if he wanted to be crass. Did anyone count up how much the Dick Cheney got in government contracts, with Haliburton and his buddies in the oil business, did you count that in ...huh? Huh?
Nope. I thought Republicans wanted a free market system -well guess what pal you can't have it both ways. Its a free market system that allows him to sell his assets whether they are business or personal and its not against the law.

Get off the pot.

Politicol News Staff Writer

According to Obamas plan a private citizen is NOT allowed to earn this much. Obama said $75k a year was plenty for anyone... Well wish I made that much, pretty soon we will look like N. Korea, all dressed the same dull colors, and in the dark most of time while our leaders, enjoy the riches they spread to themselves.

I couldn't agree more with the comment from miidleclassguy. Axelrod's just a ridiculously overcompensated spinmeister for various organizations that fleece the public.

That "shmuck" and the groups he represents all find ways to take care of each other that ultimately don't benefit the hardworking citizens.

You can rest assured that this putz has never coached a little league team, attended a CAPS meeting or even given a buck to someone forced to sleep in the streets.

He helps those who help him back and he won't be remembered after he's gone... and rightfully so .

I tried to concentrate on the content of Axelrod's interview with Mike Wallace - but after the 100th (or more) ah, ah, ah, ah, ah , ah I gave up. Either he is stalling, ignorant or incompetent (or all of the above).

Does anyone else see a conflict of interest in representing exelon AND consumers organized for reliable energy?

Axlerod is a super strategist and I am happy he is with the president. To begrudge him making money is just jealousy. Thankfully, he helped elect a man who is genuine and extremely bright. I'm with both of them and we are all better off with them leading us., linda, 'leading' you.

In Chicago they are all in the MOB. Covering for eachother because the other person has something on them. What a way to live, basically saying your working for the country and really lining your own pockets. Follow the money, you will find a lot more. Obama, Jarret, Rezko, Wright, Ayers, Pflager, the schools, Daley, the alderman. It's Chicago and sadly I live in the same state. After Chicago gets what it's wants there's nothing left for the rest of the state.

Wheres the help for the farmers, coal miners and those ourside of Crook county?

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 5, 2009 2:47 AM.

Obama weekly address taped on Air Force One was the previous entry in this blog.

Axelrod tells CNN's John King on "State of the Union" Cheney not behaving is the next entry in this blog.

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