SafeMinds Responds to False Allegations from Bloggers
February 5, 2013 -- SafeMinds offers the following response to the publication of false allegations regarding our communications and participation in events prior to a recent Congressional hearing on autism.
Over the years, SafeMinds has established a professional relationship with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (COGR) due to their ongoing interest in autism. Since 2000, six SafeMinds board members have testified before COGR, its precursors or subcommittees, in hearings regarding mercury, vaccines and the autism epidemic.
When SafeMinds became aware of allegations our organization inappropriately represented ourselves or used undue or untoward influence with congressional staff at the COGR to create desired outcomes, we immediately began an investigation.
After speaking directly with the staff responsible for organizing the recent autism hearing, we were assured that nothing undue or untoward occurred in conversations with SafeMinds. At no time did SafeMinds misrepresent our organizational affiliations to congressional staff. At no time did SafeMinds or any of our affiliates seek the recision of Brian Hooker’s invitation to testify before the COGR. While we enjoy a mutually respectful working relationship with staff in the COGR, SafeMinds did not seek any influence on the selection of witnesses called before the committee on November 29th beyond a request allowing SafeMinds to testify on the panel. If any member of the community has additional concerns, we recommend they contact the committee directly for further clarification.
With regard to the SafeMinds Congressional briefing of May 18, 2012, like any other organization sponsoring an event, we reserve the right to hold internal discussions on the speakers chosen for invitation to participate and further the SafeMinds message at those events.
It is unfortunate a committee member breached normal confidentiality of SafeMinds internal communications by including email segments from SafeMind’s staff and board members in their blog article and likely shared their entire content further with others outside of SafeMinds. We regret that the use of segments of these emails takes their actual meaning out of context with relation to our May 18, 2012 Congressional Staff Briefing or the November 29, 2012 Congressional Hearings.
SafeMinds takes pride in our continuing record for establishing the scientific basis on the environmental causes of autism and for promoting the proper treatments/outcomes for those affected. We will continue to work tirelessly for those adversely affected by toxic exposures including those from mercury, vaccines, and other toxicants – and for their loved ones. And we are very grateful for the support we continue to receive from the autism community.
For more information on our role in these activities please visit www.SafeMinds.org.