Senate Republicans want Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the “unlawful participation” by Planned Parenthood branches in the federal Paycheck Protection Program that was set up to help small businesses during the pandemic.
Planned Parenthood employs some 16,000 people nationwide, and the CARES Act, offering forgivable loans to small businesses, limits the number of employees for a company to qualify to 500.
Fox News reported it obtained a copy of letters from Sens. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, James Risch, Tim Scott, Joni Ernst, James Inhofe, Todd Young, John Kennedy, Josh Hawley and Roger Marshall asking Garland and the Small Business Administration to investigate.
It issue is at least $80 million in federal money granted Planned Parenthood last year at the organization’s request.
The senators are calling Planned Parenthood’s participation in the program “unlawful.”
The biggest player in America’s abortion industry took the funding with “full knowledge of their ineligibility,” the senators charge.
“We write to request your immediate attention to the unlawful participation of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in the Paycheck Protection Program,” the letter states.
The senators point out that SBA rules define the size of an entity with consideration of “each of its affiliates.”
“To obtain a PPP loan, an applicant must certify that they are eligible to receive a loan under the rules in effect at the time the application is submitted,” the senators point out. “In making such certification, an applicant is required to apply the affiliation rules applicable to the PPP and identify its affiliates.”
They note that the SBA last year notified Planned Parenthood offices they had wrongfully requested 38 loans totaling more than $80 million, which was distributed.
The SBA had decided Planned Parenthood was “ineligible for PPP loans under the applicable affiliation rules and size standards and that the loans they received should be returned.”
But the SBA has told the Senate Small Business Committee the loans have not been returned.
At least two Planned Parenthood branches were given second loans.
“Borrowers who make incorrect or false eligibility certifications on their PPP application are subject to severe penalties,” the senators explain. “For this reason, we respectfully request that you direct the Department to investigate whether any PPFA affiliates made a knowingly false certification on their applications for PPP loans and pursue all appropriate penalties for any unlawful participation in the program.”
A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood said in the Fox News report that the operation’s branches “provide essential health care,” insisting they “met the eligibility requirements.”
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America said its local branches are completely independent and are “not controlled” by a national organization, contradicting the finding by the SBA last year.
Paul’s office pointed to the “original congressional intent” of the PPP, which was to limit large and well-financed groups from receiving a loan. The intent was to provide relief to small businesses affected by COVID-19.
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