Politico has an article today on a secret arrangement struck last April among corporate lobbyists, the Obama administration, and Senator Max Baucus, exchanging favorable treatment for corporate interests for advertising dollars in support of Democratic health care reform:

At a meeting last April with corporate lobbyists, aides to President Barack Obama and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) helped set in motion a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, primarily financed by industry groups, that has played a key role in bolstering public support for health care reform.

The role Baucus’s chief of staff, Jon Selib, and deputy White House chief of staff Jim Messina played in launching the groups was part of a successful effort by Democrats to enlist traditional enemies of health care reform to their side. No quid pro quo was involved, they insist, as do the lobbyists themselves.

The result has been a somewhat unlikely alliance between an administration that came into power criticizing George W. Bush for his closeness to Big Business and groups such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the American Medical Association.

No “quid pro quo” involved? Of course not. I truly believe that no one at the meeting said, “give me this for that.” Just a nod and a wink, and presto, these corporate interests spent millions of dollars on advertising in support of the Democrats. And, completely by coincidence, struck deals to get favorable treatment under proposed legislation (or so they thought, we’ll see when the final bill is revealed).

This administration is so much worse than anything which has preceded it in terms of lobbying and corporate deal-making because of the phony and the deceptive mantra of “hope and change.” Is there anyone at this point in time who believes any of the propaganda emanating from this administration about transparency?

Who profited from this arrangement, other than the Obama administration itself? David Axelrod’s son, whose firm handled the advertising:

Criticism — from the left and the right — of the PhRMA deal and the coalitions became more pointed after it was revealed in August that the coalitions were paying two firms with close ties to the White House to cut ads: AKPD Message and Media, which was founded by White House senior adviser David Axelrod, still owes him $2 million and employs one of his sons — and GMMB.

Once again, we are as shocked to find corporate lobbying deals being struck with the White House — and personal profiteering by senior advisers to the President — as when we found out that there really was gambling in Casablanca.

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