Published January 25, 2017
Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Ties That Bind?
Questions are being raised regarding the relationship between White House senior adviser David Axelrod and a Chicago-based media firm he founded that still employs his son.
Bloomberg reports AKPD Message and Media still owes Axelrod $2 million following his departure in December to work for President Obama. The firm is part of a multi-million-dollar advertising deal with Health Economy Now, a coalition that includes PHARMA, the lobbying group that represents the drug industry.
A liberal Huffington Post blogger, critical of the situation, today actually quoted a House Republican Conference statement: "Some may wonder whether White House senior advisers earning millions of dollars paid for in part by the pharmaceutical industry — represents the kind of change Americans can believe in."
And Politico writes: "It's hard to imagine a situation in which — say, Karl Rove — was still getting checks from a firm that was, in turn, employed by the drug lobby not drawing fire from the left."
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs brushed off any criticism as "ridiculous" saying Axelrod left the firm to join public service.
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey apparently is in a whole lot of trouble with many who shop at his organic grocery chain.
Mackey's write-up in The Wall Street Journal entitled "The Whole Foods Alternative to Obamacare" discussed health care reform costs and Mackey's belief that health care is not an intrinsic right.
That didn't sit very well with left-leaning shoppers. A Facebook group calling for a Whole Foods boycott has more than 15,000 members.
One blogger writes: "Not very smart for a company that depends almost entirely on wealthy Democrats who are willing to pay five dollars for a six ounce carrot soda."
Another posting on the liberal Daily Kos blog echoed, "Mister Mackey you just (blanked) all over your customers."
The corporate office maintains Mackey was expressing his views and not those of the company.
Drill, Baby, Drill
And the Obama administration is going to lend at least $2 billion to a Brazilian state-owned oil company to finance drilling off that country's shores. The Wall Street Journal reports National Security Adviser Jim Jones met with Brazilian officials this month to talk about the loan to Rio de Janeiro-based oil producer, Petrobras.
The editorial board writes: "Americans are right to wonder why Mister Obama is underwriting in Brazil what he won't allow at home."
The deal is also good news for billionaire investor and major Democratic donor George Soros. According to Bloomberg, Soros bought an $811 million stake in Petrobras earlier this year, making that company his investment fund's largest holding, about 22 percent of its portfolio.
We reached out to the White House for comment on the Brazil deal but have not heard back yet.
— FOX News Channel's Lanna Brit contributed to this report.