David Axelrod conflict-of-interest? Getting $2 million from former company that's now pushing Obamacare (PhRMA)
Obama administration official David Axelrod is due to receive $2 million starting next year from his former company, AKPD Message and Media (he was the sole shareholder and he sold his interest after Obama won). And, per this, AKPD is now receiving "huge fees" "from Healthy Economy Now, a coalition that includes the Washington-based Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA". And, H.E.N. is pushing for healthcare reform.
Is that a conflict of interest? Only someone who specializes in these issues can answer that, but FWIW Robert Gibbs, when asked about this, didn't think so :
[The $2 million payout] was made because David started and owned the firm. He left the firm, and if I'm not mistaken, is being paid for the fact that he created it and sold it, which, I think, is somewhat based on the free market.
The "supporters" of Healthy Economy Now include (healthyeconomynow.org/about.html): PhRMA, AARP, Advanced Medical Technology Association, American Medical Association, Business Roundtable, FamiliesUSA, and the Service Employees International Union. PhRMA "represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies" (phrma.org/about_phrma).
Note also that Axelrod's "astroturfing" company operates from the same address as AKPD; whether he still has an interest in that company isn't known.