Susan G. Komen Foundation faces backlash over Mar-a-Lago fundraiser

Trump's Mar-a-Lago hiring problem
Trump's Mar-a-Lago hiring problem

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is drawing ire from women's groups for holding an annual fundraiser at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida.

The Komen Foundation is known as the largest breast cancer organization in the country. Its decision to keep next year's event at a club owned by the presidential candidate, who has been accused of sexually assaulting women, has been met with derision.

"It's just astonishing to me that Susan G. Komen would continue to disrespect women when its mission is to find a cure for breast cancer," Terry O'Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women, told CNNMoney. "I just don't get it."

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Andrea Rader, a spokeswoman for Komen, declined to comment to CNNMoney. She referred a reporter to an Associated Press story that quoted her as saying Komen has no position on Trump but wants to keep its event separate from "controversies unrelated to our mission."

The seventh annual "Perfect Pink Party" is scheduled for January 14, according to Mar-a-Lago. It was been held at the club, in Palm Beach, each of the previous six years.

The organization, which says it has invested $2.6 billion in research, outreach and advocacy, is no stranger to controversy.

In January 2012, the Komen Foundation cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, a decision applauded by conservative and anti-abortion groups but criticized by many women's organizations. The organization's board of directors reversed its decision days later.

"That rebounded very badly on them, and they lost support for it," said Cindy Pearson, the executive director of the National Women's Health Network, a nonprofit advocacy group.

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Pearson said she thought it was "just not right" for a women's health organization to be associated with the Trump brand.

"I believe that cause organizations need to be careful not to have any financial ties with a brand that works against the cause," she said, adding that sexual assault "is a health issue."

Pearson said, however, that she knows making a change might be difficult for the foundation.

"My heart goes out to any executive director who faces the painful choice of having to cancel a venue that you've already booked," Pearson said.

Trump has denied the assault allegations and threatened to sue his accusers.

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