Susan G. Komen’s Founder Is Major GOP Donor, Ex-Bush Ambassador

Ambassador Nancy Goodman Brinker (pictured), the founder of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, is a major Republican donor.The Palm Beach Post/ZUMA Press

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Tuesday’s news that Susan G. Komen for the Cure is ending funding it provided to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings has led to increased scrutiny of Komen’s staff, which—as I reported previously—includes a federal lobbyist who pledged to defund Planned Parenthood while campaigning for governor of Georgia.

Komen’s founder is pretty conservative, too. Komen CEO Nancy G. Brinker, who founded the foundation in memory of a sister who died from breast cancer, was the chief protocol officer for the United States from 2007 to 2009 under the George W. Bush administration, and before that served as his ambassador to Hungary.

Brinker is also a major Republican donor, and has given more than $175,000 to Republican candidates and the Republican National Committee since 1990, according to donor data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Her late husband, Norman Brinker, was the chairman of Brinker International Restaurants, which owns the chains Chili’s, Maggiano’s, and Macaroni Grill. Norman Brinker gave more than $440,000 to Republicans between 1990 and his death in 2009.

As RH Reality Check pointed out Wednesday, Komen’s public affairs advisory board also includes a staunchly anti-abortion member:

Second, sitting on Komen’s Advocacy Alliance Board is Jane Abraham, the General Chairman of the virulently anti-choice and anti-science Susan B. Anthony List and of its Political Action Committee. Among other involvements, Abraham helps direct the Nuturing Network (sic), a global network of crisis pregnancy centers known for spreading ideology, misinformation and lies to women facing unintended pregnancy. Also on the board of Nuturing Network (sic) is Maureen Scalia, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

This is all to say that perhaps the Planned Parenthood decision isn’t all that big of a surprise, given the politics of people involved with Komen. The flap might end up benefiting Planned Parenthood in the end, however. The group has raised more than $400,000 since the news broke, a spokesman said Wednesday afternoon.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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