President Joe Biden has vowed a taxpayer-funded “moonshot” bid to cure cancer, but his own cancer charity spent millions on staff salaries and nothing on actual research, according to tax filings.
Borrowing a phrase from former President Kennedy, Biden on Monday called on America to “end cancer as we know it.” Biden, who often talks about his son Beau’s 2015 death from cancer, spoke on the 60th anniversary of JFK’s later-fulfilled pledge to put an American on the Moon.
“When I was elected president, I was determined to supercharge ‘Cancer Moonshot’ as a central effort in the Biden-Harris administration,” he said. “To create a cancer research and care system that most people think we already have, but don’t realize until they already have cancer that we don’t.”
Biden to cancer patients standing on a balcony above him: "Don't jump from up there!"pic.twitter.com/uQ6kPxI3Kn
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) September 12, 2022
In 2017, Biden and wife Jill founded The Biden Cancer Initiative with a stated goal to “develop and drive implementation of solutions to accelerate progress in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, research and care and to reduce disparities in cancer outcomes,” according to its IRS mission statement.
“Every minute, every day matters to patients and we must bring that same sense of urgency to cancer research and care systems,” the Bidens said in a statement announcing the charity’s launch. “We are joining everyone who spends their days thinking about preventing cancer, about better understanding its biological basis, about bringing early detection and education to all communities, about developing new treatments and therapies, and about caring for patients and their families through some of the hardest days anyone faces. We are on your team. And we are proud to be working alongside you.”
The board of directors featured a handful of prominent medical and pharmaceutical professionals as well as ESPN reporter Erin Andrews and Black Eyed Peas member and cancer survivor Jimy “Taboo” Gomez.
In its first two years, the initiative took in nearly $5 million, and spent more than $3 million on staff salaries, according to a 2020 New York Post report. The charity’s president, Gregory Simon, earned $224,539 the first year, and got a raise to $429,850 the next, according to the report.
Simon was a former Pfizer executive and had led the Obama White House’s cancer fighting panel, which was called the “Cancer Moonshot Task Force.” The task force’s chief of staff, Danielle Carnival, earned $258,207 in 2018.
The Biden charity spent $56,738 on conferences and $59,356 on travel the first year, figures which swelled to $742,953 and $97,149 the following year.
Simon at the time of the report defended the lack of grants, saying the charity’s goal was to help ensure treatment for poor people and minorities.
The charity halted operations after two years as Biden prepared to enter the 2020 presidential race and was unable to help raise funds.
“We tried to power through but it became increasingly difficult to get the traction we needed to complete our mission,” Simon told The Associated Press in July 2019.