Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the political scion and prominent vaccine skeptic who is challenging President Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination, reported an income of $7.8 million in the year leading up to his entry into the race, including nearly $1.6 million from his consulting work for a personal injury law firm known for litigation against pharmaceutical companies.
The details came in a financial disclosure form filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission. It shows that Mr. Kennedy earned $5 million at his environmental law firm, Kennedy & Madonna, and a $516,000 salary and bonus as chairman and chief legal counsel of Children’s Health Defense, a nonprofit group he formed that has campaigned against vaccines. (The disclosure says he has been on leave from the organization since April, when he announced his campaign.)
Mr. Kennedy, a leading skeptic of vaccinations and prescription medications, has gained a foothold in the race even as he has contorted facts about vaccine development and public health authorities and increasingly embraced conservative figures and causes.
His support among Democrats has reached as high as 20 percent in polls, although a more recent Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll in June put his Democratic support in New Hampshire at 9 percent. He has also appealed to prospective voters outside the party: A Quinnipiac University poll in June found that 40 percent of Republicans viewed him favorably, compared with 31 percent of independents and 25 percent of Democrats.
Friday was also the final day of campaign fund-raising for the second quarter for the presidential race. Mr. Kennedy’s campaign sent out solicitations asking donors to help him meet a $5 million goal by the end of the day. His campaign highlighted a $1 million haul in the 24 hours leading up to Friday’s final push.
Official numbers will be available in two weeks, when the campaign files reports with the F.E.C.
On his disclosure form, Mr. Kennedy reported nearly $1.6 million in consulting fees from Wisner Baum, a Los Angeles-based personal injury law firm formerly known as Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman. The firm’s website lists him as co-counsel on ongoing litigation over Gardasil — an HPV vaccine manufactured by Merck — as well as lawsuits over Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer and California wildfires.
Mr. Kennedy also reported $150,000 in consulting fees from the Marwood Group, which describes itself as a health care advisory firm based in New York. And he reported $125,000 from Skyhorse Publishing, which publishes his books and, according to the disclosure, pays him as a consultant.
Dennis Kucinich, the former congressman and Mr. Kennedy’s campaign manager, said the disclosure “speaks for itself.”
Rebecca Davis O’Brien covers campaign finance and money in U.S. elections. She previously worked for The Wall Street Journal, where she was part of a team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting. @rebeccadobrien
Source: Read Full Article