Busting Through the Media Firestorm: 6 Essential Facts About the Komen Controversy
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Still, those who study the nonprofit world are less concerned with the more than comfortable salaries at Komen, and more with how the organization is structured. Lori Stahl at "She the People" spoke to experts:
James Abruzzo, a management and global business instructor at Rutgers Business School, said the picture that emerges from the Komen documents does raise several concerns, however.
First, he said, Brinker’s duals roles at Komen may hobble the decision-making process. “When you have a chairman who’s also the president, you have a lack of checks and balances,’’ Abruzzo said. “The founder generally populates the board with friends and associates.’’
And that's where the problems come in.
3. Right-wing Republicans Karen Handel and Ari Fleischer both had direct influences on this decision that was so fateful for Komen's brand.
Karen Handel, a Tea Party type who came on board as a senior VP recently at Komen, has been the subject of much speculation about her link with this policy, despite repeated denials from the company, and leaks making it clear those denials are false.
At the Huffington Post, Laura Bassett received a particularly damning leak from within the organization:
"Karen Handel was the prime instigator of this effort, and she herself personally came up with investigation criteria," the source, who requested anonymity for professional reasons, told HuffPost. "She said, 'If we just say it's about investigations, we can defund Planned Parenthood and no one can blame us for being political.'"
Emails between Komen leadership on the day the Planned Parenthood decision was announced, which were reviewed by HuffPost under the condition they not be published, confirm the source's description of Handel's sole "authority" in crafting and implementing the Planned Parenthood policy.
Meanwhile, another influential right-winger was involved in this catastrophic moment for the company, reports AdAge : "Former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, who had previously been brought in by Komen to assist with an executive search for a senior VP-communications, provided informal advice. "When Nancy called me, I gave her my two cents worth," he said via email.
These kinds of facts, as well as the stories of the Brinkers' history as big Bush donors, have torn the "pink curtain" off of Komen, revealing it to be far less neutral than its bland facade would indicate.
4. Komen has led lobbying efforts against common-sense healthcare bills for years--even those that would help women.
In 2009, activists trained their ire on Komen because it retained Hadassah Lieberman--just as her husband turned against the public option in the healthcare reform fight. They cited her own ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
Komen has had a long history of lobbying for the wrong things--a shoddy Patients' Bill of Rights, among others -- and has stood in the way of research into environmental causes of cancer.
This history is well documented. Back in 2002, AlterNet ran a story from Southern Exposureby Mary Ann Swissler that remains one of the most comprehensive exposés of the nonprofit giant's extensive insider Beltway lobbying and corporate ties--ties that run much deeper than sponsorships by yogurt and soda corporations.
It's no accident the Komen side favors the Republicans. A July 12, 2001 agreement between the President and five companies to run a Medicare prescription discount card program for Medicare patients, included a company called Caremark Rx where Nancy Brinker was on the board of directors, according to financial records. Another vendor, Merck-Medco, is one of the many drug companies found in the Komen investment portfolio. (Nancy Brinker resigned all board seats, including Komen, when she was appointed). If approved, the discount cards would provide up to a 10 percent discount on brand-name drugs.