Antivaxxers are sometimes violent, often abusive, and always wrong. A leading anti-vaxxer is presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. He has repeatedly compared vaccine mandates to the Holocaust. Rolling Stone and Salon retracted an RFK article linking vaccines to autism.
A veteran Wall Street executive told CNBC that he has been helping bankroll Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s anti-vaccine group and has become an informal advisor to the organization.
Mark Gorton, founder and chairman of high-frequency trading firm Tower Research Capital, said he has given $1 million to the anti-vaccine nonprofit organization called Children’s Health Defense since 2021.
Kennedy, a longtime vaccine critic and a son of late senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, founded Children’s Health Defense. The younger Kennedy was also chairman of the group’s board before he launched his run for president as a Democrat in April.
Asked about Gorton’s donation, a spokeswoman for the Children’s Health Defense said in an email, “CHD’s donor information is confidential and only communicated to the IRS in compliance with their rules/regulations.”
A Kennedy campaign spokesperson did not return requests for comment before publication.
The Associated Press reported that Children’s Health Defense played a key role in pushing back on Covid vaccines and helped elevate Kennedy’s profile. The nonprofit’s most recent publicly available tax documents show that it raised just over $6 million in 2020, the year the Covid pandemic started, more than double what it raised a year earlier.
The organization sent CNBC its tax documents from 2021, which show the group raised just over $15 million that year. It went into 2022 with over $11 million in assets. The documents don’t name the group’s donors.
Federal Election Commission records show that Gorton donated $500,000 last year to a super PAC that was then called the People Pharma’s Movement and run by other Kennedy allies. That PAC rebranded as American Values 2024 and has spent over $200,000 in print ads backing Kennedy’s candidacy, according to FEC records.