A massive trove of internal information from the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) and its donors was left unsecured on the group’s own website, according to a new report. More than 10,000 documents (including zip files that contain many more files) reviewed by Wired—including “highly sensitive internal information about the College’s donors and taxes, social security numbers of board members, staff resignation letters, budgetary and fundraising concerns, and the usernames and passwords of more than 100 online accounts”—were left unsecured on the rightwing organization’s website until the magazine reached out.
The American College of Pediatricians is a rightwing hate group (as deemed by the Southern Poverty Law Center) which peddles an anti-LGBTQ agenda via conservative media and amicus briefs against LGBTQ people. Most recently, the ACP has been a party of the abortion pill lawsuit currently confounding the federal judiciary.
The group trades on its official sound naming, though the actual premiere organization for pediatricians is the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP. The group was founded in 2002 after the AAP announced its support of gay couples adopting children. While the AAP has 67,000 members, the ACP only has about 700 members, according to Wired. It average age is over 50 and its members are mostly male, according to the records. Still, it has outsized influence on conservative policy.
Among the leaked documents are presentations, accounting files and spreadsheeting, including what Wired described as “an export of an internal database containing information on 1,200 past and current members.” The unsecured data warehouse included mailing lists, mailers, and recruitment documents. Among the secretive membership roles, Wired found at least one “recent commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services” who joined in 2019 but asked that their membership remain secret. Another strategy document found by Wired showed a prior “unified plan” to “continue discrediting the SPLC,” the organization that called ACP a hate group.
Another interesting part of the document leak was a contract from April 2021, where the Alliance Defending Freedom (the conservative legal group trying to get mifepristone off the market, among other anti-abortion goals) agreed to represent the ACP pro bono. As Wired reported: “It stipulates that ADF’s ability to subsidize expenses incurred during lawsuits would be limited by ethical guidelines; however, it could still forgive any lingering costs simply by declaring the College ‘indigent.’”
ACP did not respond to Wired for a request for comment. The group’s last public press release was in April, after a federal judge tried to remove federal authorization of mifepristone.