Dan Burton, representative to the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana announced today he would not seek re-election this year. Mother Jones has an article to mark the end of Dan Burton’s career in congress: Rep. Dan Burton’s Legacy: Lots of Sick Kids. The link says a lot “rep-dan-burton-goodbye-and-good-riddance”.
Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones starts out:
So Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) is finally retiring, after two decades in Congress. He’s got a notable record of craziness, having doggedly pursued President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal while knowing full well he’d had an affair himself and even fathered a child out of wedlock. He famously claimed to have shot up a “head-like object” (likely a melon or a pumpkin) to try to re-create the alleged “murder” of former Clinton deputy White House counsel Vince Foster, who committed suicide. But Burton doesn’t get enough credit for what may be his lasting legacy: helping turn Americans away from life-saving childhood vaccines.
Representative Burton has an autistic grandchild. Mr. Burton is of the belief that vaccines were causal in that autism. If you’ve read David Kirby’s book, “Evidence of Harm, Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical” you know that Rep. Burton is a major figure in that narrative.
Rep Burton helped promote Andrew Wakefield’s ideas, including a hearing held in 2000. Mr. Wakefield’s testimony is not exactly what I would call accurate. As is now well known, Mr. Wakefield was financially supported by attorneys seeking to prove a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. When Rep. Burton asked him about financial support, here’s how Mr. Wakefield responded:
Mr. Burton. Who funded your study, Dr. Wakefield?
Dr. Wakefield. We did. We have a small charitable
Mr. Burton. A charitable organization did; I see.
Dr. Wakefield. We found it a little difficult to get
Mr. Burton cut Mr. Wakefield off at this point, addressing another speaker at the hearing. “A charitable contribution” is a rather odd way to describe money from attorneys. Mr. Burton held at least six hearings on vaccines. That is not a problem. However, the evidence was going from weak to strongly against him over the years.
Mr. Burton has thankfully been more quiet on the issue in his recent years in office. Still, I’m with Mother Jones on this. Good Bye and Good Riddance.