This is getting absurd.
Michael Weinstein, the controversial founder and president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, just grabbed another $5 million from AIDS patients and gave it a political campaign wholly unrelated to AIDS or healthcare – Proposition 10.
That brings to $17 million that the AHF has now spent on Proposition 10, money that could have been spent on patient services, in order to help Weinstein settle a personal grudge with real estate builders.
What makes things worse is that AHF is a major recipient of Medicare funding – it received $42 million from Medicare in 2016 alone – so it’s your federal dollars that Weinstein is using on politics. The Office of the Inspector General should take a look at this. This is not how Medicare was supposed to work.
For those who know the AHF’s history, this is not that surprising. This tax-exempt organization claims it is dedicated to “hospice and health care services to AIDS, HIV, and other patients, and engaging in related educational activities.” But it turns out that the group has spent millions of dollars on Weinstein’s pet political projects for years.
In 2017, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation contributed more than $5 million to advocate for Measure S, a local initiative that would have greatly restricted new real estate development projects in Los Angeles County. Measure S would also have prevented the development of a high-rise that would have obstructed the view from Mr. Weinstein’s office.
After Measure S was soundly defeated by voters in March 2017, Weinstein decided to take another crack at real estate developers. He started using AIDS Healthcare Foundation funding to back Prop. 10, which would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and allow for widespread rent control across California. That’s right — money targeted for healthcare and AIDS prevention is being used to promote Weinstein’s real estate interests, and tell mom-and-pop real estate owners how much they can charge to rent out their homes to fund their retirements.
The $17 million that the AHF has allocated to Prop. 10 has to be a record for political spending by a nonprofit in California.
The only way that AHF can have that kind of money available for political spending is by reducing treatment services to the patients the group was designed to protect. The willful neglect of patients to generate profits to fund political campaigns is immoral. If it’s not illegal, it should be.The community would be better served if Mr. Weinstein and the AHF used their revenue on the vulnerable people they are supposed to be protecting.