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