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Is Autism Speaks supporting vaccine-autism causation proponent Congressman Bill Posey?

19 Aug

Someone forwarded an email from the “Autism Action Network” recently. The email asked people to support Congressman Bill Posey’s election campaign by attending a fundraiser. Looks like a few big donors to Mr. Posey were going to attend, including Sallie Bernard of SafeMinds and Autism Speaks. Ms. Bernard certainly is with both organizations, but I wonder if she was attending as an Autism Speaks officer or if Autism Speaks was even aware that their name was being used to promote the fundraiser.

Perhaps Ms. Bernard wasn’t aware that her Autism Speaks affiliation was being used this way. I’ve seen some of my affiliations used where I didn’t expect nor want them. Perhaps Ms. Bernard was aware that the AS affiliation was being used in this advertisement, but Autism Speaks wasn’t. Perhaps Autism Speaks was aware and supported this effort. I’m not betting heavily on that last option though.

Here’s the list of donors for the fundraiser in the email I got:

Jennifer Larson of the Canary Party and Health Freedom
Sallie Bernard of Safeminds and Autism Speaks
JB Handley of Generation Rescue
Tony Lyons of Shy[sic] Horse Publishing
Barry Segal of Focus Autism
Mark Blaxill of the Canary Party and Health Freedom
Dr. Gary Kompothecras
Teri Costigan

The Autism Speaks name adds a legitimacy to this fundraiser that the other groups just can’t. The Canary Party and Health Freedom (which I assume to be Americans for Health Choice) are basically the same people with “Canary Party” as a political party and “heath freedom” as a charity. The Canary Party/Health Freedom team is led by the same people who funded large donations to Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chair Daryl Issa ($40k plus). JB Handley is not as vocal as he once was, but he founded Generation Rescue on the notion that “autism is just a misdiagnosis for mercury poisoning“. Sky Horse publishing is boutique publisher of many of the books on vaccines and autism, including “Age of Autism” and books by Andrew Wakefield. Barry Segal (Focus Autism) has been a large supporter of groups like Generation Rescue, the Age of Autism, SafeMinds and is very vocal on his belief that vaccines cause not only autism, but many other health problems as well. Gary Kompothecras has been funding Mr. Posey for years and is an autism parent and benefactor of groups promoting the vaccine/autism idea.

Without Autism Speaks’ name added to this, this would be very clearly all about a small but wealthy group of people pushing the failed ideas of vaccines and autism. People with failed and damaging ideas have the right to lobby members of congress along with everyone else. I, for one, am glad that the vast majority of Congress has moved on from the vaccine/autism-epidemic idea. I look forward to the day when that majority reaches 100%.


By Matt Carey

And yet another vaccinated/unvaccinated comparison study, this time funded by SafeMinds

13 Aug

A study comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children is expected to be published soon. That study was mentioned at a meeting of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Commitee earlier this year. With that announcement one might reasonably expect much discussion in the online autism parent community. Instead I’ve seen only one response: SafeMinds (an organization focused on the failed idea that mercury in vaccines caused the rise in autism diagnoses) put an article on their website noting that they were “worried” by this study (a response I already discussed). Perhaps I missed it, but I did not see a statement in the SafeMinds article that they have their own vaccinated/unvaccinated study ongoing. Not only a vaccinated/unvaccinated study, but one which parallels the one about to be published. Both the about to be published study and the SafeMinds funded study focus on baby siblings of autistic kids. Parents of autistic children are more likely to delay or forgo vaccines than are other parents. Also, the risk of autism is high in the baby sibling population, giving a ” ‘window of opportunity’ to observe any potential interactions between vaccinations and the diagnosis of ASD”, as SafeMinds put it. But read for yourself. Under “Recently Funded SafeMinds Investigations“, SafeMinds lists:

The Early Identification of Infants and Toddlers at Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Developmental Delay and Developmental Language Disorders
CAROLE SAMANGO SPROUSE, ED.D., THE FOCUS FOUNDATION
The siblings of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder have a 90% incidence of speech and language delay and an 11% increased risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This proposal hypothesizes that the siblings who are not vaccinated will have a smaller incidence of ASD than the 11% already projected, as well as other developmental differences. The incidence of ASD in siblings will be lower in the unvaccinated population than vaccinated. The siblings of children with ASD provide a fertile ground to follow the neurodevelopmental progression of an at-risk population, and the effects of vaccinations on development. The siblings also provide a “window of opportunity” to observe any potential interactions between vaccinations and the diagnosis of ASD. It is very common for parents of children ASD to avoid vaccinating siblings in the first five years of life. This provides an interesting opportunity to observe and see possible correlations between vaccinations and ASD.

First, let me note the wording of that webpage: “Recently Funded SafeMinds Investigations”. Not Investigations Recently Funded by SafeMinds. Their choice of word order is poor. It implies that these are “SafeMinds Investigations” and not really independent. I will note that SafeMinds were more careful at the top of that page in how they framed the projects they have funded, but still, I would change the “SafeMinds Investigations” if I were they.

When I searched for information on the principle investigator for the SafeMinds study, I found a 2007 announcement for the study: Vaccinated/Unvaccinated Autism Baby Sibling Study, Carole Samango Sprouse, Ed.D., The Focus Foundation. Research does take time, something I wish SafeMinds made more clear in their public statements. It’s been seven years, though, and I haven’t seen this vaccinated/unvaccinated study published. The only payment I’ve seen in the SafeMinds tax forms to support this project was relatively small, $24,250 in 2006, so perhaps it wasn’t well enough supported to complete. Perhaps I missed the other support.

The principle investigator on the SafeMinds funded study has published a different study on autism and vaccines: Survey of Vaccine Beliefs and Practices Among Families Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders, and remains active in disability research.

When we consider the question of studies comparing vaccinated/unvaccinated populations, there are at least 4 in various stages. Four. That, plus the number of statements one can find online calling for such a study and we see a very strong interest in this type of study.

Here are those four studies:

1) The self-named “National Vaccine Information Center” is funding a project at George Mason University. I believe this is being performed by a member of the NVIC.

2) Generation Rescue (and others) are funding a project at Jackson State University.

3) The SafeMinds funded study noted above.

and

4) the study about to be published.

Again, with this high level of interest, where was the response to the announcement that a vaccinated/unvaccinated study is nearing publication?


ByMatt Carey

President Obama signs Autism CARES Act into law

12 Aug

The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act of 2014 has been signed by President Obama, making it law. This will extend and expand on the framework for authorizing appropriations for autism research and for coordinating research efforts in the U.S..

Here is the summary for the bill:

Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act of 2014 or the Autism CARES Act of 2014 – (Sec. 2) Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to designate an official to oversee national autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research, services, and support activities. Directs the official to implement such activities taking into account the strategic plan developed by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (the Interagency Committee) and ensure that duplication of activities by federal agencies is minimized.

Extends through FY2019: (1) the developmental disabilities surveillance and research program; (2) the autism education, early detection, and intervention program; and (3) the Interagency Committee.

(Sec. 3) Includes support for regional centers of excellence in ASD and other developmental disabilities epidemiology as a purpose of grants or cooperative agreements.

(Sec. 4) Requires information and education activities to be culturally competent. Allows a lead agency coordinating activities at the state level to include respite care for caregivers. Allows the use of research centers or networks for the provision of training in respite care and for research to determine practices for interventions to improve the health of individuals with ASD.

(Sec. 5) Revises responsibilities of the Interagency Committee concerning:
• inclusion of school- and community-based interventions in the Committee summary of advances,
•monitoring of ASD research and federal services and support activities,
• recommendations to the Director of the National Institutes of Health regarding the strategic plan,
• recommendations regarding the process by which public feedback can be better integrated into ASD decisions,
•strategic plan updates and recommendations to minimize duplication, and
•reports to the President and Congress.

Revises Interagency Committee membership requirements to specify additional federal agencies that might be represented and to modify the non-federal membership.

(Sec. 6) Modifies requirements for reports by the Secretary on ASD activities. Adds a requirement for a report to Congress concerning young adults with ASD and the challenges related to the transition from existing school-based services to those available during adulthood.

(Sec. 7) Authorizes appropriations to carry out the developmental disabilities surveillance and research program, the education, early detection, and intervention program, and the Interagency Committee for FY2015-FY2019.


By Matt Carey
note: I serve as a public member to the IACC but all comments here and elsewhere are my own.

CBS News on Judge Rotenberg Center: Controversy over shocking people with autism, behavioral disorders

6 Aug

Controversy over shocking people with autism, behavioral disorders is a story on the CBS News website today. In it, a former resident of the Judge Rotenberg Center is interviewed

Jennifer Msumba is on the autism spectrum. For seven years, she was treated at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts, where she received painful electric shocks aimed at modifying her behavior. She describes being strapped, spread-eagle to a restraint board and shocked multiple times before she left the center in 2009.

“It’s so scary. I would ask God to make my heart stop because I didn’t want to live when that was happening to me. I just wanted to die and make it stop,” she told CBS News correspondent Anna Werner in an interview at her mother’s home outside Boston. “I thought, they won’t be able to hurt me anymore.”

There is video of an extended interview with Ms. Msumba. Unfortunately, the embed code doesn’t work on this blog, but that video is here.

The FDA is considering whether the electric shocks should continue. CBS reports that decision is due shortly.


By Matt Carey

A bit of irony from Generation Rescue: still citing Jenny McCarthy as the face of autism recovery

5 Aug

Somehow I’ve found myself on Facebook and, even more, navigating to the Generation Rescue page. And today I found this:

GR_FB

In case you didn’t click to enlarge and read, here’s their statement:

The New York Times recently posted an article on autism recovery – and yes, it’s real! There really is hope!

Thank you Jenny McCarthy for being the celebrity to bring attention to the truth and thank you for all you have done for this cause.

Here’s a hint–there really is hope even without losing a diagnosis. One can have be autistic or the parent of an autistic kid and have hope. Trust me, I know. And I think if you ask Jenny McCarthy, she will tell you the same.

Back to the story. Generation Rescue are referring to this article (The Kids Who Beat Autism) in the NY Times magazine.

You may ask, where’s the irony in that? Jenny McCarthy is the public face of autism “recovery” after all, right? She told us all about how her kid was no longer autistic, typical, all that after using alternative medicine. She went so far as to berate the government for not calling her to study her no-longer-autistic son (more on that later).

I find it ironic because she’s been in the news just in the past few weeks, discussing how her autistic son is being bullied because of his autism.
http://www.people.com/article/jenny-mccarthy-the-view-autistic-son-bullied

AutisticEvan

I wish her kid well. I really do. I also wish Jenny McCarrthy compassion and forgiveness. I wish she would be more honest.

Let me return to the “Jenny McCarthy Berates the US Government for Not Studying her Autistic Kid” thing. You seethe NY Times Magazine article is discussing an NIH study of kids who were diagnosed as autistic but later were diagnosed to be not autistic. Not just a coincidence, but years back my friend Kev Leitch not only discussed that study while it was in progress, but pointed out that if Jenny McCarthy were serious about wanting the government to study her kid she might want to participate in the NIH study. Here’s what Jenny McCarthy had to say back then:

Evan is now 5 years old and what might surprise a lot of you is that we’ve never been contacted by a single member of the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, or any other health authority to evaluate and understand how Evan recovered from autism. When Evan meets doctors and neurologists, to this day they tell us he was misdiagnosed — that he never had autism to begin with. It’s as if they are wired to believe that children can’t recover from autism.

So where’s the cavalry? Where are all the doctors beating down our door to take a closer look at Evan? We think we know why they haven’t arrived. Most of the parents we’ve met who have recovered their child from autism as we did (and we have met many) blame vaccines for their child’s autism.

So, where was the cavalry, Jenny? Where was your desire to see that the NIH, CDC, AAP and “any other health authority…understand how Evan recovered from autism”?

Ms. McCarthy, back then the autism community knew you’d never volunteer your kid for such a study. Controlling the message was just too important to you. The only surprises are that these “new” revelations so soon and are so clear.


By Matt Carey

Arthur Allen: The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis

4 Aug

This isn’t about autism, but it is about a book by an author known to the autism communities: Arthur Allen. Mr. Allen wrote a number of articles on autism, the vaccine debate and treatements (many of which can be found on Slate). His book Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver shows his excellent ability at telling a story.

So when I was driving home and heard Mr. Allen interviewed on Fresh Air I had to listen. At first because it was Arthur Allen. Then because of the story. The segment was called

How Scientists Created A Typhus Vaccine In A ‘Fantastic Laboratory': Arthur Allen’s new book The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl describes how a WWII scientist in Poland smuggled the typhus vaccine to Jews — while his team made a weakened version for the Nazis.

It’s well worth a listen. How Scientists Created A Typhus Vaccine In A ‘Fantastic Laboratory’ tells of his new book, The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis. I can’t do the story anywhere near the justice that Mr. Allen gives in his interview, but in a sentence the story is how typhus is transmitted, and how scientists in occupied Poland (now Ukraine) were forced by the Nazis to produce a vaccine and also managed to supply the vaccine to people in the ghettos of Poland and the camp at Buchenwald.

I’ve got the book on order and I hope to read it on an upcoming trip (I rarely get the time to read entire books, but this is one I’m making time for). I hope to come back with a review. In the meantime, the Wall Street Journal has a review up:

Book Review: ‘The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl’ by Arthur Allen
Two scientists who worked to beat typhus and sabotage the Nazis.

book%20jacket1405102630[1]


By Matt Carey
yes, I realize this has very little to nothing to do with autism.

Why the “Autism Policy Reform Coalition” was wrong

1 Aug

The Autism CARES Act has passed the Senate. Assuming it is signed by President Obama it will soon become law. This extends and expands the framework set up previously under Pub. Law No. 109-416. The only vocal opposition to this bill that I saw came from within the autism communities. (ASAN was neutral, I believe). In specific, a group of small organizations with a focus on vaccines as causing autism formed the Autism Policy Reform Coalition. Autism CARES had a lot of momentum and I think even a good alternative bill would have faced difficulty replacing Autism CARES. But the proposal by the Coalition was not good.

Let’s start with the current structure, as set out by Pub. Law No. 109-416. The government is advised on the research priorities–and other topics–by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). The IACC has members representing the various federal agencies which fund autism research, representatives from private organizations funding autism research, researchers, autistics and family members of autistics. It does this through drafting and updating a Strategic Plan and an annual report to Congress on autism research advances.

It is important to keep in mind that the IACC policy as well as research mandates. Examples are the IACC Statement Regarding Scientific, Practice and Policy Implications of Changes in the Diagnostic Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder and the IACC Letter to Secretary Sebelius on Health Coverage. So it can advise on policy as well as research. There’s just a more clear structure to what is expected in terms of research advice (the Strategic Plan is required. Policy advice is not).

In order to make the current system work there is an Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC). These are the dedicated people who do the hard work. For example, they plan the meetings, make them work (which takes a lot of people), put together the reports, and more. OARC are a lot of hard working people doing a thankless job, without whom this process would fall apart.

That’s where we are today (at least from my point of view). Autism CARES adds an additional duty–someone in Health and Human Services will be charged with being the point person on autism. Plus some specific projects (like a report on adults and transitioning youth).

The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall designate an existing official within the Department of Health and Human Services to oversee, in consultation with the Secretaries of Defense and Education, national autism spectrum disorder research, services, and support activities

This official will “take into account” the Strategic Plan and make sure that research is not unnecessarily duplicative.

All these details sound like a lot but it’s fairly straightforward–there is the IACC advising the government, with support from OARC and now a point person in HHS overseeing the implementation of the government’s strategy. It’s simple, and it puts stakeholders (autistics, family members and researchers) directly in the stream drafting the Strategic Plan.

Some people suggest that no one listens to what the IACC has to say. To those people, I say, take a look at who the federal members are. That’s a lot of high level, decision making people who are involved with drafting the Strategic Plan and who listen to the public members every meeting. Again, the process puts stakeholders right in the mix with the decision makers. Also, most of the research being performed falls into the project areas the IACC set out in the Strategic Plan. Does the IACC have control? No. Influence? Yes.

Now consider the plan that was offered by the Autism Policy Reform Coalition. Who knows if anyone in the legislature seriously considered this proposal as a viable option to Autism CARES. Let’s start looking at why I, for one, didn’t see this as a viable option. In place of the IACC, they create two offices. The Office of Autism Spectrum Disorders Research and the Office of National Autism Policy Coordination. OK, see what they did there? They split the research and policy parts into two offices. Each will create separate Strategic Plans, each in their own area. Each Office will have need support staffs, like the IACC has OARC. So now you have four entities. Where are stakeholders in this? Well each new Office gets its own “advisory panel”. So you have six entities, assuming that the advisory panels share the support staff of the Offices they are attached to. If not, then you have eight entities.

Getting confusing?

More than just creating a lot of jobs (coming out of the autism budget), while these proposed stakeholder advisory panels have voting power in drafting the Plans put out by each office, these advisory panels are one step removed from the planning process. They are separate

Why would someone propose this? I can’t say. I can say that in this proposal the advisory groups would be majority or entirely stakeholders. So, within their own advisory panels, stakeholders would have more power to make statements without having to convince non-stakeholders to vote along.

Much as I write about autism politics, I’m no fan of politics. I would never trade the opportunity to work directly with the decision makers for the chance to make statements.

Oh, yeah, and about those stakeholders. Here’s one paragraph discussing an advisory panel:

An Advisory Panel of qualified parents or other relatives of persons with autism shall be established, modeled on the integration panel for this purpose existing within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). As with the CDMRP panel, the integration panel to the OASDR shall have voting rights with respect to the drafting of the annual strategic plan for autism research, and with respect to grant requests presented to the OASDR for the award of autism research funds.

If your eyes glazed over with the alphabet soup, let me draw your attention to the role of autistics in the advisory panel. Or, to be more accurate, the fact that there isn’t a role for autistic adults. We are back to “the autism community is comprised of parents” philosophy.

The fairly minimal costs for the administrative overhead for this Office should be found in offsets from the existing CAA funding by redirecting non-priority dollars authorized to the NIH and HRSA under the prior versions of the CAA

“Minimal costs” and a new government entity are not terms I would put in the same sentence. More important to me, what are “non-priority dollars”? Not spelled out, but no priority is given in their document to, say, improving the lives of autistic adults. Yes, there would be money to move around since priorities would shift.

Which begs the question, what do they put as a priority?

The statute should redirect HRSA resources on autism towards research designed to create a medical model for autism management, a special patient population standard of care.

In my own opinion, a large fraction of research effort is already directed towards medical management. If we look at the autism research portfolio (here data from 2010):

2010 ASD Research Funding by IACC Strategic Plan Question – All Funders
(Total ASD funding = $408,577,276)

figure3_2010

You might say, “treatments and interventions, that’s only 17%?”. Yeah, but you gotta include biology, and that’s another 22%. Without an understanding of the biology of autism, you will never get to effective therapies. Well, maybe in some sort of Edisonian approach. However that not only takes a long time, but it’s pretty obvious people aren’t light bulbs. Edison burned out a lot of light bulbs in his search to find a good filament. Groping around blindly for treatments can lead to disastrous results in humans. Perhaps the ARPC may feel they already know the biology of autism (vaccine injury, heavy metal poisoning, oxidative stress, neuroinflammation and more). That hasn’t always worked out so well.

At present the majority of federal autism research funds go to NIH. About 80% per an article in Congressional Quarterly that just came out. The Coalition’s proposal focuses primarily on NIH. Too much in my opinion. While one could say that might be justified given their large stake, in my opinion their proposal doesn’t do a good job of coordinating with the other federal funding agencies. And there little to no coordination with private funders. Private funders account for a large amount of autism research dollars. Simons Foundation, Autism Speaks, Autism Science Foundation and more private organizations contribute a great deal to autism research. In 2010, the Simons Foundation alone was the second largest funding agency after NIH. Yes, a larger contribution than any other federal agency than the NIH.

The Coalition further proposed assigning the funds for the NIH to their proposed Office of Autism Spectrum Disorders Research. It sounds like this would give more power to the advisory groups, but without some framework whereby this Office manages the funds, it’s just bookkeeping.

The Coalition presented themselves as wanting to delay Autism CARES to make some small but helpful changes. They were neither small nor helpful.

I had hoped to write something before Autism CARES passed. While it’s pretty much academic now (and likely was even before Autism CARES passed as I don’t think the Coalition had much traction), it’s worth reviewing their proposal.


By Matt Carey

note: I serve as a public member to the IACC but all comments here and elsewhere are my own.

Tax form for American Citizens for Health Choice

1 Aug

With the recent article on the financial documents for the Canary Party, it’s worth noting that the same team behind the Canary Party has a charity “American Citizens For Health Choice”. They have a site, HealthChoice.org. A while back I discussed them in the comments for a Canary Party article. As a charity they file tax forms (form 990) which are made public. Here’s their 2012 form. They had $74,000 in revenue and $60,638 in expenses.

So, don’t think that just because money isn’t going to the Canary Party that this team is backing off.

Of their revenue, $4,440 is listed as “public support” which suggests to this observer that the remaining was fronted by their officers. Ms. Larson and Mr. Blaxill contributed large sums to their Canary Party project (and to politicians) in the past.

As with the Canary Party, travel is a large chunk of expenses. Not as much detail as with the Canary Party, but they spent about $12k on travel and another $17k on expo/trade shows.


By Matt Carey

More Canary Party financial documents

1 Aug

The Canary Party is a tiny organization focused on promoting the idea that vaccines cause autism. They have branched out some with GMOs and “health freedom”, but their core seems to be the failed idea that vaccines cause autism. I’ve previously posted some of their financial documents (here and here)

Here are finance disclosure forms for
2011
2012
2013
2014

They took in
$72,018.66 in 2011
$48,748.95 in 2012
$17,425.00 in 2013
$6,275.00 reported as of June 2014

they had about $3,100 on hand as of June 2014. Where before they had some large donors and a number of small donors, so far this year all donations have been from Canary Party officer Jennifer Larson.

In previous years, they had thousands of dollars in expenses for stays at the Hyatt/Ritz and Hyatt/Four Seasons, this year they have two modest travel expenses totaling under $1000.

No parties gatherings are listed this year like their $11,000 convention in 2012.

They’ve become less transparent in their expenses. In 2013 they list $4,500 as “Dues and Membership Fees: Software” and $2,250 one month and $2050 another in “Other Services: Outside Services”. Some or all of that could be payments to blogger Ginger Taylor, who in 2011 and 2012 was paid $4,500 a month for parts of the year as “media consultant” and “Public Relations/Fundraising Service”. Hard to say, it’s not transparent.

It looks like this effort may keep moving along, self funded at a low level, for the foreseeable future. But as a major, grass-routes organization it seems to be failing.


By Matt Carey

Are congressmen Justin Amash and Rick Nolan being courted by the vaccine/autism community?

30 Jul

The groups promoting the idea that vaccines have caused an epidemic of autism have always been politically active. There’s been a resurgence in recent years, with the Canary Party and lobbying and donations and lobbying asking for congressional hearings on autism. When I got an email today from Generation Rescue (an organization promoting the idea that vaccinesasking me to donate to Congressman Bill Posey, I thought I’d take a new look at opensecrets.org and see what donations have been made lately.

Canary Party officer Jennifer Larson donates from her company (Vibrant Technologies). Another Canary Party officer is Mark Blaxill. Searching OpenSecrets for their names I find that they are (a) not donating to Darryl Issa (whom I’ll discuss below), (b) donating to Bill Posey and (c) have started donating to Justin Amash and Rick Nolan. Here are screen shots (click and click to enlarge):

larson

blaxill

And I haven’t checked to see who else is donating to these members of Congress.

Jennifer Larson recently donated $40,000 to Congressman Darryl Issa. Congressman Issa chairs the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform. This same committee held hearings on autism, sadly wasting a lot of time on the Canary Party’s failed vaccine message. One of those hearings included Larson’s colleague at the Canary Party (Mark Blaxill) presenting testimony. Interestingly, Congressman Issa did not attend the second hearing by his own committee last year. And now the money is moving to other politicians.

Congressman Amash sits on the Committee for Government Oversight & Reform (the same one that held the hearings). But he was criticized by one of the vaccine/autism groups for arriving late and not asking questions in the recent hearing.

amash1

Rick Nolan is a member of the Congressional Autism Caucus.

Ms. Larson also has a $2,000 donation to congressional hopeful Tom Emmer (May 13, 2014).

Interestingly, Gary Kompothecras does not seem to be supporting Bill Posey this election. He has in the past (and here) and lives in the same state as Congressman Posey. Whether the lack of donations this election cycle represent some of the friction within the autism/vaccine community is unclear.

Donating to politicians is of course appropriate and legal. As is following money from special interest groups.

I hope these politicians do their own research. The vaccine/autism idea has caused a great deal of harm to the autism communities and to public health.


By Matt Carey

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