The Shocking Story Behind One Megadonor’s Support of RFK Jr.

The Shocking Story Behind One Megadonor’s Support of RFK Jr.

A Politico story this weekend about how Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is attracting a “whole new kind of political donor” featured a New Jersey man who never cut a check for a federal candidate before he put more than a quarter of a million dollars toward the Camelot outcast’s longshot presidential campaign.

What wasn’t mentioned in the story is that the donor, retired landscaper Daniel Thropp, had been in the news before: He killed his brother with a sawed-off .22 rifle in 2006 and was institutionalized for five years after a judge found him not guilty by reason of insanity.

Thropp told The Daily Beast on Monday that there’s a dotted line between that awful episode and his support for RFK Jr., who has been disavowed by much of his family for his anti-vaccine activism, platforming of conspiracy theories, and other questionable statements.

At trial, the defense argued that Thropp suffered a delusion that his brother was part of a local “mafia” conspiring to poison him with insecticide—a “classic, textbook” case of insanity that was the result of sustained exposure to organophosphates.

“That’s why I’m supporting Kennedy, because he takes atypical views on medical issues,” Thropp said.

Thropp gave the maximum $6,600 to RFK Jr.’s campaign and another $260,000 to the super PAC supporting him. He declined to answer whether he had ever had personal contact with Kennedy or any campaign staff, but said an unspecified person “around the campaign” whom he met at a rally explained how to break down his contributions between the candidate’s official presidential committee and his supporting American Values PAC.

He said he had been found “financially competent” since 2009, but declined to say how his finances as a retiree enabled him to make such generous contributions.

“Let’s say I was well-capitalized,” Thropp said, noting that he ran a landscaping business for 20 years.

As documentation of his mental condition in 2006, Thropp provided a transcript from his trial in which his lawyer noted he obtained a preliminary clinical impression of chronic organophosphate exposure in 2004, though not a formal diagnosis. He also provided an image of an emergency room discharge that same year in which the doctor present gave a first diagnosis of “TOX EFF ORGANPHOS.”

He also provided a 2009 letter from a controversial Wales-based physician named Dr. Sarah Myhill, whom British medical authorities have repeatedly suspended from practicing and who claimed to have tested Thropp for organophosphate poisoning, and pages from a report on his case by “forensic expert witness” Raymond Singer, who promotes himself as a “neurotoxicologist” but is not a medical doctor and whose testimony has on multiple occasions been thrown out of court.

Studies do show organophosphate poisoning can have severe neurological effects, but psychiatric disorders are rare.

Kennedy campaign manager Stefanie Spear did not respond to questions about Thropp’s support of the campaign. American Values PAC, the greatest beneficiary of Throop’s largesse, did not say whether it was aware of his past when he donated.

“The State of New Jersey concluded that Mr. Thropp bore no criminal culpability for any matter,” PAC Co-chairman Tony Lyons said in a statement. “American Values 2024 respects the legal system and will not criticize or discriminate against anyone for a crisis that occurred in their lives.”

The Daily Beast

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