Karen Handel resigns from Komen for the Cure

Karen Handel, the former GOP candidate for governor, just announced her resignation as a senior vice president for public policy of Susan G. Komen for the Cure – one week after the breast cancer charity reversed itself on a decision to sever financial ties with Planned Parenthood.

Below is the letter. Note that Handel says she is declining the offer of a severance package from Komen — which might have required her to keep silent.

February 7, 2012

The Honorable Nancy Brinker

CEO, Susan G. Komen for the Cure VIA EMAIL

5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 250

Dallas, Texas 75244

Dear Ambassador Brinker:

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has been the recognized leader for more 30 years in the fight against breast cancer here in the US – and increasingly around the world.

As you know, I have always kept Komen’s mission and the women we serve as my highest priority – as they have been for the entire organization, the Komen Affiliates, our many supporters and donors, and the entire community of breast cancer survivors. I have carried out my responsibilities faithfully and in line with the Board’s objectives and the direction provided by you and Liz.

We can all agree that this is a challenging and deeply unsettling situation for all involved in the fight against breast cancer. However, Komen’s decision to change its granting strategy and exit the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood and its grants was fully vetted by every appropriate level within the organization. At the November Board meeting, the Board received a detailed review of the new model and related criteria. As you will recall, the Board specifically discussed various issues, including the need to protect our mission by ensuring we were not distracted or negatively affected by any other organization’s real or perceived challenges. No objections were made to moving forward.

I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve. However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization. Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone’s political beliefs or ideology. Rather, both were based on Komen’s mission and how to better serve women, as well as a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy. I believe that Komen, like any other nonprofit organization, has the right and the responsibility to set criteria and highest standards for how and to whom it grants.

What was a thoughtful and thoroughly reviewed decision – one that would have indeed enabled Komen to deliver even greater community impact – has unfortunately been turned into something about politics. This is entirely untrue. This development should sadden us all greatly.

Just as Komen’s best interests and the fight against breast cancer have always been foremost in every aspect of my work, so too are these my priorities in coming to the decision to resign effective immediately. While I appreciate your raising a possible severance package, I respectfully decline. It is my most sincere hope that Komen is allowed to now refocus its attention and energies on its mission.

Sincerely,

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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343 comments Add your comment

Wynona

February 7th, 2012
10:38 am

GOOD RIDDANCE!!

kandy

February 7th, 2012
10:39 am

Well this is a good start!!!

sue

February 7th, 2012
10:40 am

The first logical decision she’s made! Good!

sue

February 7th, 2012
10:41 am

A wise decision on her part. –May be too little too late!

Ga Values...Ron Paul for Peace & Prosperity

February 7th, 2012
10:41 am

She would have been a less bad governor that that crook Raw Deal

Suzie Simoneit

February 7th, 2012
10:41 am

Good riddens to bad rubbish!! Take you antiquated ideas with you, ALL women’s health should be the focus of Susan B. Komen.

Mahopinion

February 7th, 2012
10:42 am

Too little, too late. Brinker needs to go, too.

Three Jack

February 7th, 2012
10:42 am

SGK lost a great woman, best wishes Karen!

christian

February 7th, 2012
10:44 am

did y’all even read the letter? have you even considered the truth of this news story? Obviously not, based on the answers thus far. Bravo to you Karen for your integrity and stand for what’s right! If the GA GOP had any integrity at all, you’d be Governor right now, and we’d all be better off!

KHC

February 7th, 2012
10:45 am

Buyer beware for her next employer.

GrogInOhio

February 7th, 2012
10:45 am

That’s a good start. Brinker next?

The Snark

February 7th, 2012
10:46 am

When the going gets tough .. blame others!

Stay classy, Karen.

DebofAmber

February 7th, 2012
10:46 am

Apparently we aren’t done yet? She is claiming it wasn’t her – or at least not completely her.

Ruggerducky

February 7th, 2012
10:48 am

Can’t believe it took a whole week. Anyone who really thinks this ultra-conservative did not influence the decision by Komen is a fool. A person who would turn cancer into a political issue is just plain a bad person in my book. But here’s a couple of old ladies telling it like it really is: http://margaretandhelen.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/pink-razors/

Last Word

February 7th, 2012
10:48 am

Dear Karen,

YOU’RE FIRED!!!!!

Sincerely,

The SGK Foundation

Becky

February 7th, 2012
10:50 am

They all need to go from the top down. Then return the foundation to its original purpose instead of a way for ladies who lunch to pull huge salaries from the business of breast cancer.

Jeannie

February 7th, 2012
10:50 am

> As you know, I have always kept Komen’s mission and the women we serve as my highest priority

I guess “the poor” are not part of the women Handel wanted SGK to serve.

Lonnie Walker

February 7th, 2012
10:50 am

Good luck and best wishes to Karen Handel.she is the only Republican candidate i have ever voted for and our state wouldve been thriving had she been elected.I would like to thank her for her amazing show of integrity.God bless her!

[...] tools, controversy, politics, women and leadership, women and power, women in politics UPDATE 2/7 : Karen Handel resigned defiantly this morning angrily claiming she was right, everyone else was wrong, and that she would [...]

PhillipP

February 7th, 2012
10:51 am

Not good enough. I still will not support them because of all the lies. They are still a right wing Republican organization.

Phillip

February 7th, 2012
10:51 am

She has been a disaster for this organization. I was in Walmart on Sunday and I can’t tell how many products I saw with the Komen Pink Ribbon on it.I made sure the groceries I bought didn’t support this organization with the ribbon on it, and the stuff I used to buy that had it on it I bought its competition. I was standing in line and they had this Energizer battery kiosk where you could buy while in line, and they had actual pink batteries with the KOMEN ribbon on them and I bought DURACELL just so I didn’t support Energizer. Guess Komen has been hounded by its sponsors to get rid of that cancer Karen b/c their products are being affected. I know personally my whole family was boycotting any food/products that had a pink ribbon it. That ribbon has become toxic and they have a lot of work to do to regain the trust of women all around the world. Cancer should not be used a political football to deny any women screening. Cancer is NONPARTISAN and it doesn’t care what political affliation you belong to and for this woman to destroy a 30 year positive organzition for breast cancer, because of her right wing ideology has been a travesty.

kandy

February 7th, 2012
10:51 am

The truth is ALL there is in this story. They decided to withhold funding from Planned Parenthood!
They screwed up and got caught in a lie, as they continued to fund PENN STATE as it was definitely under a CRIMINAL investigation.
She just had her anti-abortion agenda she was trying to put through. Just like all the LW crazies, it seems to be OK to overlook the molesting of a child, but do ALL you can to prevent women from their legal reproductive rights.

Carol

February 7th, 2012
10:51 am

None of what she said is true. good riddance.

sheepdawg

February 7th, 2012
10:52 am

hahahahahahahahahahahaha….now maybe they’ll hire an educated person to set policy. hope we never see her face again in GA, or her obnoxious spokesperson who was sonny’s lap dog for years. hahahahahahaha

bart

February 7th, 2012
10:53 am

I was a supporter of Handel in the Governor’s race, but now I’m glad she lost. I will no longer support her for any political campaign she may wage in the future. I am extremely disappointed that she would put the lives of so many women in jeopardy for purely political reasons. What a shame!

Omega Chick

February 7th, 2012
10:53 am

Thank heavens. I’m sure some lucky Super PAC will snatch her up for more misguided policy-making decisions. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Karen!

MN Jean

February 7th, 2012
10:54 am

So Sorry, wishing Ms Handel the best….planned parenthood needs to raise their own funding, not get it from Susan J Komen that people donate to thinking the dollars go toward cancer cure research & treatments.

kandy

February 7th, 2012
10:54 am

Agree Phillip,
I went out last night to buy my usual Purina Cat chow, but it had this HUGE pink ribbon on the front.
I switched brands!
BYW, I am a breast cancer survivor and have supported several friends in the 60 mile walk.
I won’t be this year!

Matt Hart

February 7th, 2012
10:55 am

I see she expects a big severance package. How many more buckett of chicken must KFC sell to compensate?

GTPHISH

February 7th, 2012
10:55 am

Last Word

February 7th, 2012
10:55 am

Um, Kandy, don’t you mean “RW crazies?”

Bemused

February 7th, 2012
10:55 am

Reminds one of the Mary McCarthy line about Lillian Hellman: “Everything she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’ “

Debbie Hellman

February 7th, 2012
10:55 am

Go back to Georgia….no great loss!

Dani

February 7th, 2012
10:55 am

Wow, that was the most BS-filled letter I’ve ever read. I love how she tried to turn the tables back on Komen to try and divert the majority of the blame away from herself. No matter what she says, her actions have demonized her in the eyes of most American women. Too late. Handel.

liberalefty

February 7th, 2012
10:55 am

good riddance to this religious pious hypocritical fool

Grasshopper

February 7th, 2012
10:57 am

This debacle puts Komen in a very harsh light. We always knew that Handel was anti-abortion; this situation reinforces that.

But what exactly is Komen’s position? First they want to disassociate themselves from PP because of investigations. Then they bow to political pressure and change their minds.

Handel, at least, doesn’t waffle in her views.

Nathan

February 7th, 2012
10:57 am

Such a shame. Breast cancer should not be a political issue. Komen has revealed itself as a political organization. Best to find another place to send your money to, knowing it will help women fight disease rather than further a political agenda.

17onPink

February 7th, 2012
10:57 am

What an incredible piece of spin. How can women be your highest priority when you alter the rules for grantmaking specifically in an effort to avoid a controversy created by your political allies? There are plenty of controversial groups that Komen works with, including Penn State (criminal investigations), several corporations who produce products with known carcinogens, guns, etc. It is alos rather disingenuous to say that Komen turned the issues into something political. Karen Handel arrived with a well-known political history and by insid accounts, was key to the charge forward. Ms. Handel, if you don’t want to have an abortion, don’t have one. We can agree to disagree on the topic, but, like when you created an illegal system for voter verification in Georgia (known to make it more difficult for people to vote), you should stop using your power to deny people access to ful participation in decisions that affect their lives. You are absolutely invested in a government big enough to control m mothers, sisters, and daughters and that is by no means true or healthy conservatism.

Cindy Lewis

February 7th, 2012
10:57 am

Meh. Typically severance packages are not extended to employees wishing to resign; those are reserved for employers wishing to rid themselves of a perceived human resource problem. Obviously, Handel was forced out and this letter is her weak way of taking the high road out of town. She was canned.

jron

February 7th, 2012
10:58 am

what a lier. A co-worker just released piles of emails from her where she very clearly was LOOKING for ways to specifically defund PP. It was her main goal in life apparently and then she has the gaul to try and claim she was just doing the best thing for cancer. she is a fraud and a lier.

Harold

February 7th, 2012
10:58 am

Karen “Dropout” Handel still doesn’t admit it’s her. It’s always somebody else’s fault isn’t it, Karen. Same reason you dropped out of everything else. THEY DID IT NOT ME! WAH!!! Maybe Mitt has a safety net for her as she falls again.

[...] text of letter from Karen Handel about her resignation (via the Atlanta Journal Constitution): February 7, [...]

Melissa

February 7th, 2012
10:59 am

Her letter is worded exactly as I’d expect an ultra-conservative shill to sound – full of lies and misrepresentation, taking no responsibility and trying to blame everyone else.

John K

February 7th, 2012
10:59 am

Typical Republican. Causing a disaster and then leaving.

kandy

February 7th, 2012
11:00 am

MN Planned Parenthood does not use the money they raise and receive for cancer research.
They DO use it to do mammograms and cancer screenings for women who are without health insurance or access to health care. That is where the money donated goes!
SGK donates money to thousands of other organizations. They just stepped on their dick this time and got caught acting political instead of philanthropical!

Allen

February 7th, 2012
11:00 am

Her craven Palin boot-lick aside – she is what is wrong with politics and politicians.

Nan

February 7th, 2012
11:00 am

Good riddance. She can try to spin it a zillion different ways, but it was all politics, pure and simple.

BC Supporter

February 7th, 2012
11:01 am

I can’t believe that SGK would succumb to such media pressure to support an organization that promotes saving women’s lives out of one side of their mouth but promotes killing babies out the other side. What most people fail to point out is that for every $ SGK gives to PP, that’s one more $ they can allocate towards abortions from other sources. I applaud KH for her stand and even though my wife is currently battling BC, I will not support an organiztion that supports abortion. I do not support United Way for the very same reason.

Ron Curtis

February 7th, 2012
11:01 am

What a typical, sniveling, lying right-wing loser she is! Blaming everybody but herself and forgetting where the buck stops – with her! Thank God she didn’t end up as governor of Georgia! Good riddance and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Now let’s have Brinker’s resignation, along with everyone else inside Komen who thought this was a good idea. I conclude this comment by referring readers to this video link: “What cancer is and is not” youtu.be/2ZwpSwm_4as

beanster

February 7th, 2012
11:01 am

This isn’t good. Now she’s a martyr for the crusade. This will be her only platform for the rest of her political career and could very well win her the Governor’s seat someday.