Dear Susan G. Komen for the Cure:
For 30 years Susan G. Komen for the Cure has been the largest funder of breast cancer research and screenings. Its work has had an impact on every family in America. Its success has been based on the public's trust and belief that it always puts women's health above partisan politics. When the organization's CEO announced on January 31st that it would defund Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screening program based on a partisan Congressional investigation, she destroyed the public trust, without which the organization can not survive. Though Karen Handel, the woman most associated with the decision has resigned, this episode has brought to light other abuses of the public trust and failures of corporate governance that make it impossible for the organization to survive with the current leadership. Among the failures attributable to the Board of Directors and CEO Nancy Brinker are:
1. Hiring Karen Handel to be Vice President of Public Affairs knowing that she had run for Governor of Georgia promising to defund Planned Parenthood.
2. Deceiving the public about the decision making process that led to the defunding of Planned Parenthood, including stating on national television that Karen Handel was not part of the decision even as she asserts that she was.
3. Representing to the public that reaction to the defunding decision was being received positively in spite of massive negative reaction, thus failing to disclose the true condition of the organization.
4. Raising doubts about the organization's commitment to keeping politics out of women's healthcare by pledging only to continue Planned Parenthood's grants this year without articulating a credible policy to insure an incident like this does not happen again.
5. Using right-wing political operatives such as Ari Fleischer, to vet candidates for senior leadership positions in the organization.
Therefore, to restore the integrity of the organization and in order to preserve its unparalleled grassroots fundraising infrastructure and its leadership in the fight against breast cancer, we the undersigned call on CEO Nancy Brinker and the entire Board of Directors, including Robert Taylor, Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., Eric Brinker, Linda Custard, Elyse Gellerman, Brenda Lauderback, Linda Law, Connie O'Neill, and John D. Raffaelli to resign immediately, and for nominations for their replacements to be ratified by the 120 affiliate organizations.
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