Texans for Public Justice

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Nancy Goodman Brinker

Occupation: Founder
Employer: Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
Home: Dallas, TX
After college Nancy Brinker became a management trainee at Neiman Marcus in Dallas before working for public relations and marketing firms. Her greatest public relations coup, however, is the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Brinker founded the foundation in 1982 in memory of her sister, who died of the disease, which Brinker survived. The Komen Foundation sponsors Komen Race for the Cure fundraisers in 110 U.S. cities. Critics such as the Toxic Links Coalition say the foundation focuses too exclusively on treating breast cancer after it strikes rather than preventing cancer by identifying its chemical and environmental causes. Deepening their concerns are close ties and investments that Brinker and Komen have had in for-profit cancer treatment companies such as U.S. Oncology and AstraZeneca and the 4,000-square-foot Dallas office space that Komen occupies compliments of Occidental Corp. (see Roger Hirl). Critics also say that Komen Foundation lobbyists quietly worked to undermine and weaken the Congressional Patients Bill of Rights in 1999, 2000 and 2001. President Reagan and the first President Bush appointed Nancy Brinker to the National Cancer Advisory Board and the President’s Cancer Panel, respectively. The second President Bush appointed Nancy Brinker in 2001 as Ambassador to Hungary. When Brinker stepped down in 2003, President Bush replaced her with George H. Walker III, who is the first President Bush’s cousin. The ambassador’s son, George H. Walker IV, is a Pioneer. When she raised money for Bush's 2000 election, Brinker was married to Norman Brinker, then chair of Brinker International, which made its fortune off such restaurants as Chili's, Macaroni Grill and On the Border. The Brinkers have since divorced and Norman Brinker retired in 2003. Bush Pioneers on Brinker International’s board at that time included Dan Cook, Erle Nye and Roger Staubach. Brinker International opened a Chili’s restaurant on a U.S. Air Force base in Japan in 2003 and planned to open another one at an Air Force base in Germany. Sounding more like a Brinker PR hack than military brass, Chief of Air Force Clubs Frank Black was quoted in Brinker’s press release as saying, “We selected Chili’s from a short list of qualified concepts because of the strength of the brand, the diversity and popularity of the menu, as well as Chili’s successful track record in supporting its global franchise partners.” Roger that.