On Tuesday, Popular Information reported that an anti-vaccine charity organization run by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. "illegally" gave $50,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), the GOP campaign arm that helps elect state attorneys general to set legal policy around the country.
"Children's Health Defense is organized as a 501(c)(3) charity, which means that contributions to the group are tax-deductible," wrote Judd Legum. "As such, under the law, Children's Health Defense is 'absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.' RAGA 'elects and re-elects Republican attorneys general nationally.' RAGA is organized as a 527 'political organization' dedicated to 'influencing or attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election or appointment of an individual to a federal, state, or local public office.' In other words, a 527 organization is devoted exclusively to activities that are off-limits for a 501(c)(3) charity."
According to the report, when asked for comment, Children's Health Defense claims the contribution was to gain access to RAGA to brief their members on "health policy issues" — but they acknowledged the payment, made in July 2021, was against the law and said, "We regret our mistake and have changed our procedures so that this will not happen again."
Children's Health Defense, formerly the World Mercury Project, is among the so-called "Disinformation Dozen", or the 12 accounts spreading the majority of false information about vaccines on social media. The group has been behind litigation that sought to block vaccine mandates on college campuses.
RFK Jr., who used his family name to boost the profile of the group, recently came under fire for saying vaccine regulations are worse than the Holocaust, which was condemned by the Auschwitz Memorial and even his own wife. According to the report, Kennedy has already worked with Republican attorneys general to promote vaccine disinformation; at one point, Louisiana AG Jeff Landry invited Kennedy to a hearing opposing state school vaccine mandates.