The liberal website FireDogLake is circulating a letter to celebrity supporters of one of the nation's largest breast cancer research non-profit groups, urging them to pressure the foundation to terminate Hadassah Lieberman's paid role as a global ambassador.
According to a press release from FireDogLake, recipients of the letter include actresses Andie MacDowell, Cynthia Nixon, Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Tilly, and Marcia Cross, as well as country singer Trisha Yearwood.
The letter to the celebs who support the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure cites two main reasons for opposing the foundation's involvement with Lieberman: Her prior work for companies that lobbied on behalf on the health insurance industry, and her husband, Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-Conn.) opposition to the healthcare reform proposals in the Senate.
The letter does not clarify which of the two issues takes precedence, but the timing of its release suggests that it's as much about Sen. Lieberman's political position as it is about his wife's past.
In a statement to The Hill, Sen. Lieberman's spokesman on Monday characterized FireDogLake's tactics as "McCarthyite," referring to the infamous senator Joe McCarthy (R-Wis.), whose hearings in the 1950's sought to expose communists.
"For the record, Mrs. Lieberman is not now nor has ever been a lobbyist," he added.
Hadassah Lieberman (pictured here with her husband) was a senior associate at the public affairs and lobbying firm APCO Worldwide from 1993-1997, and a senior counselor at Hill & Knowlton, a D.C. public affairs firm which specialized in healthcare issues.
Lieberman isn't the only Senate spouse facing criticism for alleged ties to the healthcare industry: Susan Bayh, wife of Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) has come under similar scrutiny in recent months over her membership on the board of WellPoint, a health insurance company that opposes Democratic reform efforts.
On Monday, the Susan G. Komen Foundation reiterated its support for Lieberman, praising her in a statement and saying it has "every intention of continuing our relationship with Ms. Lieberman."
Meanwhile, Sen. Lieberman has recently pushed for an antitrust amendment to healthcare reform that is opposed by health insurance groups.
Founded by former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Nancy G. Brinker, the foundation is named after her late sister, who died of breast cancer, and has grown to be among the most visible sponsors of breast cancer research in the country; Its 5k Race for the Cure each year in Washington regularly attracts big-name politicians, including former Vice President Al Gore.