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Olmsted on Autism: AAP, Feds Swap Cash. Why?

Monopoly_moneyBy Dan Olmsted

Each year, the American Academy of Pediatrics gets several million dollars from the federal government. And each year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gets a very similar amount from the AAP.


I learned this factoid from Mary Webster, the eagle-eyed BFF of AOA (see, you don’t have to be a government agency or trade group to toss initials around!). She learned it from going through the AAP’s 990 forms, as they’re called -- the tax filings it makes each year.
On the 2006 return, the latest available, “The federal government's grant of nearly $5,000,000 (million) constituted 5.7% of the AAP's gross income,” Mary says.  “But, you'll see on page 19 of the PDF that the AAP allocated $4,817,130 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources.  Is this something like the even exchange of gift cards at Christmas. ..?”

Well, search me! Or better yet, search for yourself HERE.

The forms are listed from 1998 to 2006. On the 2006 form, the government’s contribution to the AAP is right near the top, under 1d of Part 1: Government contributions (grants) not included on line 1a: $4,866,716. The AAP money going to HHS is listed on Schedule 3, Line 22, Schedule of Grants and Allocations (trust me, it’s not hard to find or I couldn’t have found it, even with Mary’s eagle eye).

If you go back through the 990s, the same pattern is evident -- the government giveth to the AAP, the AAP giveth to the government, and the amounts are pretty darn close as they spiral upward (or, since 2004, decline). Here is the year, the amount the government gave the AAP, the amount the AAP gave HHS, and the net difference accruing to one or the other -- in all but one year, to the AAP:

2006: $4,866,716; $4,817,130; net $49,586 to AAP
2005: $6,336,333; $6,273,649; net $62,684 to AAP
2004: $7,587,682; $7,110,778; net $476,904 to AAP
2003: $6,991,594; $7,159,384; net $167,790 to HHS
2002: $6,244,286; $5,721,083; net $523,203 to AAP
2001: $4,397,766; $3,998,556; net $399,210 to AAP
2000: $4,112,116; $3,591,416; net $520,700 to AAP
1999: $3,706,725; $3,134,124; net $572,601 to AAP
1998: $2,554,657; $2,154,056; net $400,601 to AAP

So over the past decade at least -- let’s assume the same amounts held in the tax return for 2007 -- the AAP and HHS have been exchanging increasing amounts of money -- tens of millions of dollars -- that continue to match each other pretty closely. Those amounts have more or less doubled since 1998, with the net advantage to the AAP amounting to $2.84 million.

Maybe some of AOA’s more numerically-bureaucratically minded friends can help figure this out ((or maybe our AAP and HHS lurkers -- yes, you! -- could come in from the cold and explain it).

But from where I stand, wouldn’t it have made more sense for HHS simply to have given this amount to the AAP? Why are similar, escalating amounts bouncing between them? Is that just inflation in the health care industry? But what for?

I’m sure there’s probably some nifty explanation, but I think I’d rather have my government hang on to my tax dollars rather than passing them back and forth like Monopoly money. And it’s kind of striking to realize the amounts here are rising right along with the first alarms about vaccines, in 1998 (Wakefield and the MMR) and 1999 (the AAP, HHS and thimerosal). And that the amounts start to fall the year the IOM report gave vaccines a clean bill of health.

Is there something that a private organization like AAP could do with the money that HHS couldn’t? I know that sounds like a loaded question, but there may well be a satisfactory answer.

All I’m asking is: What giveth?
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Tony Bateson

Hello Age of Autism

I am dismayed that the high level of support for the claim of vaccines being responsible for autism seems to just sink without trace.

I just wanted to add that I have never seen any evidence of autism existing outside vaccination. A number of parents and MDs even have reported to my web sites that their children or patients are autistic and have not been vaccinated. I always follow these up at no time have I ever been given any information that would count as evidence that their claims are true. I even offer to consider anonymous reports subject to verification by a third party - result nothing. I do not buy that there is any such thing as an unvaccinated (or otherwise exposed to vaccine materials) autistic person.

Tony Bateson

Carolyn M.

If the federal government is paying out money, there should be some sort of contract involved. There should also be some sort of reports accounting for how the money was used (in my experience, if the federal government pays out money, it wants to know that every penny of that money was used for the purpose the federal government intended/contracted for when it paid it). If the AAP was subject to outside audit, there should be one or more audit reports. The copies of the government contract, reports and any audit reports (and ideally, audit workpapers) would be useful in determining what is going on. That is, if these documents exist and if someone from our side could get copies.


Mary Webster's post comparing the slackness in general "drug safety" testing and experts and the slackness in same for vaccine testing (the slackest) is apt. If the Charles Bennett she wrote of who opines that consumers are unreasonable in expecting full consumer safety info on drugs before marketing is one Charles *L* Bennett of Northwestern, well looky here: http://tinyurl.com/5h5kzc

There's got to be more but this was a thirty second search. Of course Bennett thinks it's unreasonable to expect that the safety of a post-market product be understood.

A little aside-- one thing interesting about the above study: does the fact that most researchers worked with or for Sanofi at some point mean that a Sanofi product causes prostate cancer? One way to figure out whether your disease was caused by pharma-- see how many embedded researchers studied your ailment and see who they worked for.


The Federal government cuts state health departments in, so the states can help promote vaccination too.

Otherwise, Pharma would have to pay more for their dollars for their advertising costs. Why should Pharma pay their own costs when they can use taxpayer dollars?



I forwarded this to a Sr staffer of one of my federal legislators.

They immediately replied that they would try to get an answer as to what this funding is all about.

Good idea to share this with them...or not? What do you think?


I'm not a tax attorney, but as I understand the tax code on non-profit organizations funds must change hands entirely in line with the charitable nature of the non-profit. AAP hopefully didn't utilize this exchange of funds for any political gains or favor?! This IRS might want to investigate further.


AnonMD is unfortunately right:

To my financially-challenged ears, the whole thing with HHS and the AAP sounds like money laundering and payola in one swell foop (as my dad-- major vaccine injury theory supporter-- would put it). It might just be some weird deal of giving a grant which is returned if not needed-- not that I'd know a thing about how that works.

I hope there will be some follow-the-money over this on AOA.

Mary Webster

Interesting observation, AnonMD. Just today, the Associated Press published an article on safety concerns related to newly-approved drugs.


[Dr. Charles] Bennett [a Northwestern University drug safety expert] says it's unreasonable to think that the studied drugs' safety issues should have been discovered before they were marketed. That's because drug approval is based on relatively small studies with patients who generally are healthier than those in the general population. It often takes real-world experience for side effects to appear, he said.

[end snip]


This also holds true for vaccines.


great post and very scary--I would like to know what those dollars were earmarked for?

See what can be done by the full cooperation of government, professional trade industry, and Pharma. If you think the autism-vaccine scandal is a mess--wait to see what happens when Pharma wins this Supreme Court judgement. This would be the VICP model for all drug/device related injuries.


If Pharma wins this one, I won't prescribe a new drug until it's been out atleast 7 years (about the time it takes for real doctors seeing real patients to identify problems with a new drug)!

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