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 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):



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.


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

12 Responses to “Are congressmen Justin Amash and Rick Nolan being courted by the vaccine/autism community?”

  1. A Cranky Spider July 30, 2014 at 19:47 #

    Hurm. When do these people ever do anything useful for autistic people? Whining and pining about a link that has been dis-proven doesn’t help autistic people. Now, some nice practical, useful stuff would totally be helpful, but you do not hear anything like that and it’s quite depressing.

    • jlvdhl August 12, 2015 at 21:14 #

      What do we do to help autistic children? Please check out I have run an autism center as a 2nd job for 10+ years. 100s of children have received services. Of course, that isn’t written about on this blog. Geesh people… why do you care where we spend money? Comical that anyone wants to read this. Also… can I give money to candidates for reasons other than autism? what if i think they are courageous or like their policies? Honestly… we are just not as interesting as you’d like to make us. We are just parents with autistic children. We don’t give nearly the amount of money as pharma gives to candidates but i don’t see that getting posted. Good luck all.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) August 12, 2015 at 22:37 #

        What did you give to Issa? $40,000?

        What did you give to Posey? Along with the others? To get a big “thumbs up” from him after he returned the favor with reading a statement into the congressional record.

        At least you put into practice what you think–influence can be bought. I have my own opinion as to whether buying influence taints the buyer. You have a different opinion.

      • reissd August 12, 2015 at 22:44 #

        I would say a group that makes many of its points by accusing others of conflicts of interests and claiming their claims are ignored because of corruption cannot complain when its spending practices are questioned.

        And you are not just parents with autistic children. You promote the myth that vaccines cause autism and act to promote policies that increase risks of outbreaks of preventable diseases, putting others at risk.

      • karenlernst August 12, 2015 at 22:50 #

        It seems this is a fair question since the Canary Party and Health Choice and all the other brands associated with them assert (without any proof) fiscal connections between organizations and companies. When you put forth those assertions, you open yourself up to the same criticism.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) August 12, 2015 at 23:43 #

        You assume people reading here haven’t checked out your Holland Center website.

        I think the idea of hosting such a center is great. I would never recommend someone use it.

        How about your reliance on HBOT? As evidence for it, you link to a paper in Medical Hypotheses which concludes “Based upon these findings, it is hypothesized that HBOT will improve
        symptoms in autistic individuals. A retrospective case series is presented that supports this hypothesis.”

        You present that as a “research study”. It isn’t. It’s an argument about a hypothesis. Ironic that you ignore this paper that states ” No consistent effects were observed across any group or within any individual participant, demonstrating that HBOT was not an effective treatment for the participants in this study”. Said study lists Andrew Wakefield as a co-author.

        I notice that your biomedical grants through CADE are one-size-fits-all. Everyone has to do a diet. I’ve also noticed that your autism 5K doesn’t fully inform the participants about how you spend your money.

        Yes, I’ve looked. I’ve been meaning to write about it. Time to get to it.

      • karenlernst August 13, 2015 at 21:19 #

        I’m glad you are planning on writing about HBOT and the Holland Center. It’s one thing to claim you are helping autistic children, but an entirely different thing to market such help through making people afraid of both autism and vaccines.

  2. Sebastian July 31, 2014 at 18:48 #

    Jennifer Larson’s Facebook page has a few pictures of her and Blaxill meeting Amash earlier this month. Also pics of Larson with Nolan as well.

  3. Science Mom August 12, 2015 at 22:56 #

    Of course, that isn’t written about on this blog.

    Why should it be? All you do is promote the vaccine causation myth and dangerous “treatments” for autism that don’t even work.

    Geesh people… why do you care where we spend money?

    Because you are trying to buy political influence to advance your vaccine causation myth instead of actually helping autistics?

    Comical that anyone wants to read this.

    Then why are you reading this and commenting no less?

    Also… can I give money to candidates for reasons other than autism? what if i think they are courageous or like their policies?

    What you can’t even own up to what you are doing? These are people that don’t even represent your district.

    Honestly… we are just not as interesting as you’d like to make us.

    You’re right. Unfortunately you’re dangerous to the autism and parenting communities.


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