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Thu Feb 2, 2012, 06:24 PM

Komen Foundation Ousted Their Democratic Lobbyist Just Before Hiring Karen Handel [View all]


Komen Foundation ousted their Democratic lobbyist just before hiring Karen Handel

By Megan Carpentier
Thursday, February 2, 2012 17:07 EST
It wasn’t until 2008 that the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, a 501(c)3, founded the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Advocacy Alliance, a 501(c)4 non-profit that, under IRS rules, can spend unlimited donor funds on lobbying. It’s that arm of the Komen Foundation that former Secretary of State and failed gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel (R-GA) was hired to run in April 2011, despite being once investigated for issuing voter ID regulations that the Department of Justice determined to be discriminatory against non-white voters. She’d been serving “as a consultant” to the organization since January 2011.

Before Handel’s hiring, Komen’s lobbying shop was staunchly Democratic — from its head to its hired guns, former Democratic aides did most of the heavy lifting on everything from the breast cancer stamp to breast cancer research to its advocacy on the health care bill. And when their lead lobbyist, former Democratic staffer Jennifer Luray, quietly left in 2010, she took with her a six-figure severance package not in keeping with an employee that just found a new job.

At the time Handel was hired as a consultant — shortly after Luray left — Handel told the local magazine Northside Woman that Komen was her first and only client, and that her role was to “(work) with (the affiliates) to make sure they are as strong as they can be,” adding, “we’re making sure there’s a good relationship between the national group and the affiliate group [sic].” She told the Atlanta Trend last year, “Everybody understands that budgets are really, really tight in virtually every state. And that means that every program, no matter how worthwhile, is on the table to be scrutinized.” That would seem to belie Komen Foundation President Nancy Brinker’s assertion today that Handel wasn’t involved in the decision to end most affiliates’ grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings, let alone her assertion that none of their decisions were “political.”

Interestingly, before Brinker took the reins of the organization itself and Handel came on board, Komen’s lobbyists had typically leaned to the left, especially since the Advocacy Alliance opened. Though everyone from lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs to smaller shops like Foley Hoag (a law-firm based practice headed by former Kennedy aide Nick Littlefield) got money from the Komen Foundation to do what limited lobbying is allowed under their tax-exempt status, launching the Advocacy Alliance in 2008 allowed Komen to hire former Democratic aide Heather Podesta’s lobbying firm to represent them alongside its other long-term lobbying firms.


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Reply Komen Foundation Ousted Their Democratic Lobbyist Just Before Hiring Karen Handel [View all]
Hissyspit Feb 2012 OP
Uncle Joe Feb 2012 #1
xchrom Feb 2012 #2
onehandle Feb 2012 #3
avaistheone1 Feb 2012 #4
Blue Owl Feb 2012 #5