Submitted by Diane Farsetta on
Senator Barack Obama's chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod, "moonlights" from his political PR firm AKP&D Message & Media. Working from the same office, "Axelrod operates a second business, ASK Public Strategies, that discreetly plots strategy and advertising campaigns for corporate clients," reports Howard Wolinsky. Axelrod's ASK partners are John Kupper and Eric Sedler, previously of AT&T and Edelman. Chicago Alder Brendan Reilly called ASK "the gold standard in Astroturf organizing." In 2005, as ComEd was "preparing to ask [Illinois] state regulators for higher electricity prices," ASK advised the company to form "Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity." The front group, which described itself as "a coalition of individuals, businesses and organizations," funded ads that warned of blackouts unless rates were raised. Around the same time, ASK helped Cablevision, which owns Madison Square Garden, oppose the New York Jets's plans to build a new stadium in Manhattan. Cablevision formed the "New York Association for Better Choices," and ran anti-stadium ads in its name. ASK's other work includes helping AT&T defeat municipal broadband referenda.