What do you do if you’re in desperate need of some sort of validation about your misguided, uninformed, fraud-driven beliefs about vaccines? Do you fund more research into vaccine technology and how to make it “safer”? Do you use your money to fund autism programs that look to make the lives of autistics better at all levels? Or do you find a Congressman who will believe your drivel and give you some sort of credibility and pour money into his coffer?
If you’re a reasonable person, and you have a lot of money, and you’re worried about autistics, you would be inclined to fund organizations and programs that look to advocate for autistics (and other people with developmental disabilities). You might contact your representatives in Congress, maybe even the President, but you would know better than to give them any money directly. After all, you’re always going to have an elected representative. There is always going to be someone to answer the phone when you call Congress. So why give money to them? Let them get their own money.
Ah, but if you’re not a reasonable person, you believe in all sorts of conspiracies, and people are making fun of you over your delusions about vaccines and autism, well, then you need to buy yourself a Congressman. How do you do that? By paying between $500 and $1,500 just to meet and greet the person who is most likely to give you a sympathetic ear in congress. Lately, that person has been Representative Bill Posey from the Florida 8th Congressional District.
Allow me to step back for a moment. Look at the situation. If you want to meet and greet the person who owes you his current job in Congress, you have to pay a minimum of $500. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that you can call up their office and get an appointment. Regular folks don’t get that usually. Maybe if you’re from a relatively small district. Maybe if you know people who know people. Most of the time you’ll end up just talking to staffers, because money.
Now, let’s go back to the anti-vaccination activists who are trying to buy themselves a Congressman. How much do you think they’ve “invested” in buying Rep. Bill Posey? One thousand? Two thousand? Three thousand dollars? According to the Federal Elections Commission, the following people have given money to him:
Jennifer Larson, who sits on the board of the “Autism Recovery Foundation” and is a big anti-vaccine activist who seemingly loves to defend Andrew Jeremy Wakefield, gave $1,000 to Bill Posey. I could be wrong, but Ms. Larson doesn’t live in Florida’s 8th. So you do the math on why she’s giving him what to a family with a special needs child would be a windfall.
Mark Blaxill, who is not a scientist and not a journalist, also donated $1,000 to Representative Bill Posey. Why if not to win favor with Representative Bill Posey?
J. B. Handley also gave $1,000. Mr. Handley is a very wealthy man who seems to be convinced that vaccines and nothing but vaccines caused autism in his child. He is so convinced that he is happy to see public health in the United States on the decline.
And then there is Barry Segal, who also gave $1,000. He sits on the board of Focus Autism, the organization which funded the hilariously inept “study” (more like back-of-the-napkin miscalculations of numbers) by BS Hooker, who also sits on that board.
Wait a goddamned minute! Did two board members of an anti-vaccine organization look at each other and decided to fund and conduct a study on vaccines and autism and come out with findings that vaccines cause autism? I’m shocked!
And don’t waste your time trying to say that Focus Autism is not anti-vaccine. Their own “vaccine” page is filled with anti-vaccine tropes.
This is just the donations that we know of from “autism advocates.” There could be more, but the federal election donation laws are so murky that it is impossible to tell how much people gave to what congressperson or political action committee. At the very least, they gave $4,000 to a man who already has received over a million dollars in donations and has plenty of cash on hand to spend. That is $4,000 that could have gone toward something meaningful for autistics. Instead, it goes to a wealthy congressman from Florida who is in no way threatened to lose his seat.
But those are the priorities of people who think that there are monsters under the bed, who saw that their children are autistic and deemed those children to be lost, stolen, or worse.