The AIDS Healthcare Foundation continues to waste millions of dollars on pet political projects dreamed up by its founder and president Michael Weinstein.
The government is finally starting to take notice.
California’s Fair Political Practices Commission has charged Weinstein’s political committee with illegally installing billboard advertising to promote Measure S, a local initiative that would have greatly restricted new real estate development projects in Los Angeles County.
Weinstein’s committee has agreed to pay a fine for breaking state law by failing to publish the source of funding on the billboard advertising. The proposed settlement is scheduled to be considered by the FPPC at its Dec. 20 hearing in Sacramento.
Those of you who live in Los Angeles County, you might remember that Measure S was a poorly conceived anti-development measure that was soundly defeated by voters in 2017. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) spent more than $5 million on that campaign, which was apparently launched after Weinstein became upset that a new high-rise building was going to partially obstruct the view from his Hollywood office.
That set back didn’t discourage Weinstein. This year, the AHF wasted more than $23 million of AIDS patients’ money on the colossal failure that was Proposition 10, the pro-rent control initiative that was annihilated in the November election.
The AIDS nonprofit has now wasted tens of millions of dollars on failed political campaigns – money that could have gone a long way toward preventing the spread of HIV and treating those infected with the virus.
Perhaps most troubling is that the AHF is one of the nation’s largest recipients of Medicare funding, receiving $42 million from Medicare in 2016 alone. This is obviously not how tax-exempt Medicare recipients, like the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, should be using their government subsidies. Those subsidies should be going to help patients – the underserved, the needy – the very people the Foundation was established to help 30 years ago. It is both offensive and nonsensical for Medicare dollars to go to a tax-exempt, non-profit organization that then turns around and spends taxpayer dollars on unrelated political causes of its director.
Now that the FPPC has taken notice, I hope the Office of the Inspector General will take a look at the AHF’s misuse of Medicare funding before even more money is diverted from patient care and wasted on political folly. It’s time for the government to shed some light on the terrible abuse of power and money, at the AHF.