Friday, August 17, 2012

Obama's Axelrod Family-IGS-ASGK-AKPD Connection

“An organization's ability to compete successfully in a Global marketplace is impacted by governing bodies worldwide. Policy makers and influences in every market have the potential to impact a client's business operations and competitiveness. IGS works with business units, Senior Management and General Counsels to ensure that the organizations policy opinion and concerns are understood and promoted….”

--from the Interactive Global Solutions [IGS] website

Michael Axelrod has grown up in the business of electoral politics, beginning his career in a variety of campaign management capacities for AKPD Message & Media, a firm created by his father, David Axelrod, former White House Senior Advisor and campaign strategist for Barack Obama. With his extensive campaign and corporate client experience, Axelrod, an international corporate and public affairs consultant, has experience working with corporate and political leaders and campaigns in Latin and South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He currently has projects and teams in places throughout every area of the globe.

“While at AKPD Message & Media, Mr. Axelrod was part of the strategic team behind such political clients as the `Obama for America’ presidential campaignMr. Axelrod also worked with clients on day-to-day messaging and strategy as well as developing the firm's international political practice. He directed the campaign strategy in AKPD's work for Francisco de Narváez, who defeated former president Nestór Kirchner in the legislative midterm elections in Buenos Aires, Argentina…Mr. Axelrod currently sits on the board of a private equity firm that makes real estate investments in small to mid-market assets, portfolios of assets, operating companies with underlying real estate assets and strategic investment programs and joint ventures. Based out of Denver, Colorado, the firm has invested over $875 million throughout the world….”

--from the Interactive Global Solutions [IGS] website

Obama’s Axelrod Family/IGS/ASGK/AKPD Connection

As Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter noted in his 2010 book The Promise: President Obama, Year One, during the 2008 U.S. election campaign, 2012 Democratic presidential candidate Obama “relied on a few longtime advisors, starting with David Axelrod” and “Axelrod was a former reporter and columnist for the Chicago Tribune…” The same book also observed that after Obama appointed him to be the Obama White House’s “Senior Advisor to the President” following the November 2008 election, “Axelrod figured there were…two issues that could stop him [Obama]: unemployment and Afghanistan.”

Coincidentally, an article by Dan Mihalopoulos that appeared in the July 19, 2012 issue of the Chicago Sun-Times contained the following reference to former White House Senior Advisor to the President” Axelrod (who became the Senior Strategist for Obama’s re-election campaign in 2011):

David Axelrod — the top campaign adviser to President Barack Obama — sold his ownership stake in ASGK Public Strategies in 2009, when he became a senior White House adviser.

“But Axelrod didn’t cut his ties to the Chicago public relations firm completely. He still has an office there. His name is on the door. His old partners are still paying him…five annual $200,000 payments…Now, two of the firm’s clients — Citibank and the Chicago Cubs — have a lot riding on decisions to be made by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Axelrod friend and former White House colleague…Citibank…wants to help finance Emanuel’s…Chicago Infrastructure Trust…The Cubs…want Emanuel’s help in financing a major renovation of Wrigley Field…

ASGK quietly has played a role in a number of major issues at City Hall...The firm’s executives don’t register as lobbyists…

“Another Axelrod-founded firm — AKPD Media and Messaging — recently produced ads critical of the Chicago Teachers Union…AKPD oversaw Emanuel’s ad blitz during his mayoral campaign, and the firm is a paid consultant to his political committee, state records show.

“Like ASGK, AKPD continues to pay AxelrodAKPD owed him $2 million, to be paid over four years, when he became a White House aide, Axelrod told federal ethics officials.

“Both AKPD and ASKG are housed at the same River North address that’s also home to Axelrod Strategies, the firm he founded upon leaving the White House last year….ASGK’s managing partner, Eric Sedler, won’t talk about the work the firm is doing for the Cubs and Citibank.

“Dennis Culloton, spokesman for the Cubs’ owners, won’t say what ASGK is doing for the team but says it was hired in the past year.

“The team needs support from Emanuel and the City Council to advance its $300 million plan to rehab Wrigley…. Citibank and a fund called Citi Infrastructure Partners — which won’t talk about ASGK’s work — were two of the five financial institutions that Emanuel singled out at a March 1 news conference with former President Bill Clinton at which he announced the formation of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust...Ald. Will Burns (4th) — who voted for the trust — works for ASGK. Its website lists him as a managing partner….”

Also, coincidentally, the son of the Senior Strategist for Obama’s re-election campaign—Michael Axelrod—is a Partner in the Interactive Global Solutions [IGS] firm that, according to its website, engages in the following government-related activities on behalf of its clients: 1. “Direct Federal lobbying and legislative advocacy;” 2. “International legislative and regulatory advocacy; “3. “Effective interaction with U.S. Attorneys General;” and 4. “Advocacy for Foreign Governments seeking to establish pro-active relationships.” The IGS website also provided the following biographical information about a few of the IGS business partners of Obama Campaign Advisor Axelrod’s son:

“…Patrick Egan…served six years at the International Republican Institute, including as director of the Regional Program for Europe and in Baghdad, Iraq...He was a… visiting fellow at NATO Headquarters in Brussels…

“Kevin Gilna, based in Dublin Ireland provides…government services…His clients include some of the largest financial, trade and energy companies in the world….Mr. Gilna served as Senior Advisor to John Bruton, European Union Ambassador to the United States…Mr. Gilna also served as a Senior Advisor to Mr. Bruton during his period as Prime Minister of Ireland opposition….Mr. Gilna also served as Director of Elections for Prime Minister Bruton…Prior to that, Mr. Gilna was Director for Public Affairs for the Irish Construction Industry Federation (CIF), which represents over 3,000 construction companies…

“…Daniella Landau…served as a senior public policy adviser with the law firm of Baker, Donelson, where she helped craft and implement legislative strategy for clients such as American Airlines, Lockheed Martin, L3 and…Ms. Landau was previously Managing Director of Government Affairs for American Airlines, where she helped develop, implement and direct legislative and regulatory strategy. Prior to joining American Airlines, she spent three years as a senior media adviser with the public affairs firm of Burson-Marsteller. There, she helped coordinate message and communications strategies designed to promote successful passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Also in 1992/1993, Ms. Landau served on the Clinton/Gore transition team…

“…David Metzner…began his public policy career as the Director of Legislative Affairs for The Singer Company, where he assisted the CEO and other senior executives in developing corporate positions on tax policy, international trade and national security…. In January 2009, Mr. Metzner completed his six year Presidential appointment as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In this capacity, he…led the Board's initiative in creating the Kissinger Institute on China-United States Relations. Mr. Metzner serves on the Institute's Advisory Board which is chaired by Dr. Kissinger…

“Tom Schilling...has served as a strategic communications consultant to such Colorado corporate leaders as StorageTek, First Data Corp., Interlocken business park, FlatIron Crossing shopping mall, U.S. Bank and Piper Jaffray….

“Sean Tonner...offers clients expertise in developing and executing effective corporate growth strategies as well as providing sound political consulting…Over the course of his career, Mr. Tonner has worked on numerous political campaigns in the U.S. and abroad, including Bush-Cheney...Most recently, Mr. Tonner has been working with clients in Central Europe in election strategies and business development with global corporations….Mr. Tonner has also amassed impressive corporate affairs experience developing and executing successful strategic plans for companies including Western Union, HealthOne, Wal-Mart, Noble Energy and others….At the age of 18, he joined the U.S. Army and attended Reconnaissance, Airborne, Ranger, Desert and Jungle warfare training. In addition, he served as a scout for the 24th Infantry Division in Desert Storm...”


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