A Democratic mega donor has pulled the plug on an anti-vaccine group founded and funded by his family, telling the Daily Beast that he regrets his involvement.
Real estate developer Albert Dwoskin said that he cut funding from the Children's Medical Safety Research Institute long before the current measles outbreak heightened interest in vaccination policy. The group closed at the end of 2018 after he and his wife, Claire, began divorce proceedings.
CMSRI had been known for circulating anti-vaxx misinformation including debunked connections between autism and vaccines. The organization, which was founded by Claire Dwoskin, was largely funded by the family’s foundation which spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting its mission of conducting “research on a range of issues from the toxic potential of various vaccine ingredients to the expression of human diseases.”
But that, Albert Dwoskin said, has come to an end.
“After seeing a great deal of evidence, I have concluded that concerns about the safety of vaccination are unfounded,” he said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “The best way to protect children is to make sure they have all their vaccinations as recommended by scientists, doctors and other healthcare professionals.”
“The CMSRI, founded by my estranged wife, has been closed. I regret my participation in the CMSRI’s work and disagree with her views on the dangers of vaccination,” he added. “My foundation no longer supports work on this issue.”
A spokesperson for Claire Dwoskin confirmed the non-profit had closed, but disputed her estranged husband’s assertion that she was the sole driver of the issue.
“Divorce has a way of rewriting history,” said Kellie Boyle, Dwoskin’s spokesperson. “Al was always supportive, it was a joint passion and interest. He’s a data driven business man, that was the basis of his funding vaccine research.”
While CMSRI was shuttered last year, the group’s Twitter feed and Facebook page were active as of mid-May, retweeting articles and posts with misleading and incorrect information about vaccines.
The family has also been a prolific political donor as well, giving to several top ranking Democrats and Democratic committees and regularly hosting the who’s who the party’s political elite for fundraisers at their McLean, Virginia estate.
The disclosure of Albert Dwoskin’s disassociation from the anti-vaccine cause comes after the Daily Beast reported that those Democrats have continued to rake in money from Dwoskins despite the couple’s involvement in a movement that the Centers for Disease Control cited as a factor in the record measles outbreak across the country.