Investigative

Uncovered: Planned Parenthood cited for multiple campaign donation violations

Planned Parenthood, abortion corporation

Planned Parenthood, whose various political PACs and organizations spend millions of dollars pushing their abortion agenda down the throats of the American taxpayer, has been fined multiple times by the State and Federal Election Commissions for various violations. While Planned Parenthood masquerades as a healthcare organization, the organization’s former president, Cecile Richards, once claimed the abortion giant’s aim was to be the “largest kick butt political organization” — and with the help of their political arms that is what Planned Parenthood appears to be doing. But is the organization actually playing by the rules?

In a previous Live Action News report, we documented how a Wisconsin Planned Parenthood was fined by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) for failing to report contributions to Democratic candidates. Now, a more thorough review by Live Action News has uncovered additional reports from both state and federal agencies, as detailed below.

Federal Elections Commission (FEC) cases

The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) uses multiple methods to enforce compliance with election rules. Most of the results are made public by the FEC. Enforcement cases can come from audits, complaints, referrals or self-submissions, and anyone can submit a complaint if he or she believes a violation of the law has occurred or is about to occur. Enforcement cases are primarily handled by the Office of General Counsel and are known as Matters Under Review (MUR). Other programs designed to augment the Office of General Counsel’s enforcement role include the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program and the Administrative Fine Program.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is described as “a program that encourages settlements outside the traditional enforcement process.” The Administrative Fine Program assesses civil money penalties for late or non-filed reports.

Live Action News found two Alternative Dispute Resolution cases, including the aforementioned one from Wisconsin as well as one Matter Under Review case, in the FEC’s database within just the past few years. In addition, we located several state cases implying violations either against a Planned Parenthood organization or one of their representatives or staffers, a potential small sampling of what could be available were we to investigate every state agency.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin Political Fund

As mentioned previously, in March of 2018 by a vote of 4-0, a negotiated settlement was approved by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin Political Fund (referred to as respondent) after “[t]he Reports Analysis Division referred Respondent for failing to file 48-Hour Reports totaling $116,898.08 to support two independent expenditures disclosed on the 2016 October Quarterly Report.”

Image: letter 2018 Federal Elections Commission (FEC) ADR against Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin

Letter: 2018 Federal Elections Commission (FEC) ADR against Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin

According to a report by Fox News:

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin’s failures to disclose its expenditures were discovered after discrepancies were found in the group’s October 2016 quarterly report. The group had marked $133,305.04 worth of independent expenditures on that report, which covered its finances from July 1 to September 30, 2016. However, $116,898.08 of the $133,305.04 worth of expenditures the group showed in the filing was never submitted in any previous 48-hour reports, a requirement for money put towards independent expenditures.

The independent expenditures consisted of $58,449.04 Planned Parenthood Wisconsin in support of Hillary Clinton and an additional $58,449.04 disbursed on the same day in support of former Sen. Feingold (D.), who failed to recapture the Senate seat from Sen. Ron Johnson (R.).

Image: FEC ADR 845 Planned Parenthood Wisconsin

FEC ADR 845 Planned Parenthood Wisconsin

Under the terms of the agreement (ADR 845), a civil penalty in the amount of $5,850 was issued. In addition, the Committee agreed to certify that a representative of the organization participated in an FEC conference, webinar, or other program developed in consultation with the FEC’s Information Division.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. PAC, DBA Planned Parenthood Federal PAC

In January of 2018, by a vote of five to zero, a negotiated settlement was approved by the FEC with Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. PAC, DBA Planned Parenthood Federal PAC and Tshombe Hubbard, Treasurer (referred to as respondents) after, “The Reports Analysis Division (RAD) referred Respondents for failing to disclose all financial activity on its 2016 12 Day Pre-General Report. On February 21, 2017, the Committee filed an Amended 2016 12 Day Pre-General Report disclosing an additional $51,756.51 in disbursements. ”

IMage: Letter 2018 Federal Elections Commission (FEC) ADR against Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Letter: 2018 Federal Elections Commission (FEC) ADR against Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Correspondence from Planned Parenthood to the FEC indicates that Planned Parenthood also failed to report that they “included a $50,000 non-federal cash donation to a state-level independent expenditure committee.”

Treasurers of political committees are required to report all financial activity, including all disbursements.

Under the terms of the agreement, (ADR 835), a civil penalty in the amount of $2,600.00 was issued.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc., PAC and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc.

Live Action News found several cases where Planned Parenthood was listed as a respondent for a “Matter Under Review,” dating back to the 1980’s where the FEC notified the organization that they found no reason to believe (NTB) the allegations.

However, in one out of three of the MUR cases within the past few years, the FEC did find violations.

  • MUR6411 (No Reason to believe (NTB) Notification letter to PP June 2011)
  • MUR6410 (No Reason to believe (NTB) Notification letter to PP July 2011)
  • MUR5808 (Reason to believe (RTB) Notification letter to PP September 2006)

According to the RTB notification letter to PPAF in MUR5808, “On September 12,2006, the Commission found reason to believe that Planned Parenthood Action Fund Inc. violated…[statute #], a provision of the Act.”

Image: letter Federal Elections Commission (FEC) against Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Letter: Federal Elections Commission (FEC) against Planned Parenthood Action Fund

The FEC notification letter to Planned Parenthood Action Fund PAC and Chris Korsmo reads in part, “On September 12, 2006, the Commission found reason to believe that Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. PAC and Chris Korsmo, in his official capacity as treasurer, violated…[ 2 statutes], provisions of the Act.”

Image: letter Federal Elections Commission (FEC) against Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Treasurer

Letter: Federal Elections Commission (FEC) against Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Treasurer

According to the FEC in the MUR5808 complaint, on March 6, 2007, the Federal Election Commission accepted a signed agreement from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc., PAC and Chris Korsmo, in her official capacity as Treasurer, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc., in settlement of violations in a Matter Under Review (MUR 5808).

A 2007 press release issued by the FEC details the violations found:

The FEC’s Reports Analysis Division discovered that respondents failed to report receipts and disbursements in their original 30 Day Post-General Report and Year End Report in 2004 after they submitted amended versions of the reports.  Respondents contended that they amended 2004 reports filed with the Commission upon discovering that activity of PPAF PAC had not been disclosed, and they also retained an outside consultant to audit the PPAF PAC’s financial activity.  Independent review, initiated by the respondents, revealed that the PPAF PAC failed to disclose receipts and disbursements, disclosed one receipt and one disbursement that did not occur and accepted transfers of corporate funds.  The Commission found reason to believe that respondents violated the Act by failing to disclose receipts and disbursements, and erroneously disclosing receipts and disbursements, in amounts totaling $1,727,328, and by receiving $724,309 through transfers of corporate funds.  The Commission also found reason to believe that Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America violated the Act by transferring $24,309 and $700,000 respectively, in corporate funds to the PPAF PAC.  In a consolidated conciliation agreement, PPAF PAC agreed to pay a civil penalty of $110,000 and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. agreed to pay a civil penalty of $4,600.  The Commission voted to admonish and take no further action as to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

As a result, the FEC issued a fine of $114,600 against Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. PAC and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc..

State cases

California: Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties Community Action fund PAC and Melahat Rafiei, Treasurer

In 2014, the California Fair Political Practices Commission issued a warning letter to Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties Community Action fund PAC and Melahat Rafiei, Treasurer, alleging a failure to properly maintain campaign records.

Image: California Fair Political Practices warning letter to Planned Parenthood 2014

California Fair Political Practices warning letter to Planned Parenthood 2014

The letter states in part:

[F]rom January 1, 2010 through February 28, 2010, Respondent PAC received $20,609 in cash contributions via designated contribution jars stationed at each of the nine Planned Parenthood clinics in Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Clinic guidelines required that all cash contributions received via the designated contribution jars of less than $25 be provided to Respondent PAC. While Respondent PAC did periodically keep deposit logs of cash contributions received, it failed to keep daily records of each cash contribution received and the total amount of contributions received daily via contribution jars, in violation of Section 84104 and Regulation 18401, subdivision (a). The lack of daily records precluded the determination of the total amount of cash contributions of $100 or more received by Respondent PAC. However, the incomplete records provided by Respondent PAC did indicate that on or about February 6, 2010, Respondent PAC received seven cash contributions of $100 or more totaling $900, in violation of Section 84300, subdivision (a).

Rather than a fine, the Commission decided to close the matter with just a warning letter.

Montana: Planned Parenthood Advocates in Montana

In 2014, the Billings Gazette reported that Planned Parenthood Advocates in Montana “violated state law in its campaign against a Billings Republican in the 2014 elections, the state Commissioner of Political Practices has ruled.”

The State’s Political Practices Commissioner found “sufficient evidence of a campaign practice violation.” The document states that the Commissioner then referred to incident to the County Attorney of Lewis and Clark County for consideration as to prosecution.

Oregon: Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon, Sharon Brenner, Treasurer 

In 2007, the Oregon Office of the Secretary of State sent a Notice of Proposed Civil Penalty letter in the matter of an Insufficient Contribution and Expenditure Report by the Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon, Sharon Brenner, Treasurer.

The Reason for Notice read:

This notice is being sent to you as a result of the insufficient filing of your supplemental contribution and expenditure report (see ORS 260.073, ORS 260.083 and OAR 165-012-0005). Based upon our examination of your supplemental report, we have determined that you did not provide sufficient occupational information for one contributor by the October 10, 2005, amendment deadline.

The letter goes on to state that the Secretary was proposing a civil penalty of $10.00 for the violation.

Texas: Kathy Hubbard, campaign treasurer for Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas PAC (PPHST) 

In 2011, The Texas Ethics Commission determined that that there was credible evidence of violations of specific statutes of the Election Code as well as a section of the Ethics Commission Rules against Kathy Hubbard, referred to as respondent in the case. The document states further that Hubbard was the campaign treasurer for Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas PAC (PPHST).

IMage: Texas Elections against Kathy Hubbard treasurer Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas PAC

Texas Elections against Kathy Hubbard treasurer Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas PAC

According to the Order and Agreed Resolution document:

The complaint alleged that the respondent: 1) did not disclose the full name of a contributor, 2) incorrectly reported total political expenditures, 3) incorrectly reported total political contributions maintained, 4) did not disclose the actual payee for political expenditures, 5) did not disclose required employer and occupation information for contributions, and 6 ) did not timely file a monthly report.

As a result of the violations, the commission imposed a $600 civil penalty.

Texas: Cary Jennings, campaign treasurer for Planned Parenthood of North Texas’ Political Action Committee

In 2010, The Texas Ethics Commission determined that there was credible evidence of violations of specific statutes of the Election Code as well as a section of the Ethics Commission Rules, involving the campaign treasurer for Planned Parenthood of North Texas’ Political Action Committee, Cary Jennings, referred to as respondent.

Image: Texas Elections against Cary Jennings treasurer Planned Parenthood of North Texas Action Fund Political Committee

Texas Elections against Cary Jennings treasurer Planned Parenthood of North Texas Action Fund Political Committee

According to the Order and Agreed Resolution document:

The complaint alleged that the respondent, as campaign treasurer of Planned Parenthood of North Texas Action Fund Political Committee: 1) failed to properly disclose the total amount of political contributions maintained as of the last day of the reporting period, or, alternatively, failed to properly report political contributions accepted and political expenditures made, in 17 monthly campaign finance reports, 2) improperly disclosed the total amount of political expenditures as zero in two of the committee’s monthly reports, and 3) improperly disclosed political expenditures as reimbursements in one of the committee’s monthly reports.

As a result, the commission imposed a $3,000 civil penalty.

Vermont: Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Action Fund

Also in 2010, as Live Action News previously documented, the State of Vermont reached a settlement with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Action Fund as a result of a finance complaint from the 2010 General Election.

According to the Sun Community News;

Let Vermont Vote that PPNNE Action Fund had failed to comply with political committee reporting requirements and other campaign finance laws.

During the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, PPNNE Action Fund spent about $119,000 on political advertisements advocating against Brian Dubie and received contributions from individual donors in amounts greater than $2,000. Thus, it qualified as a political committee.

PPNNE Action Fund should have registered and filed reports of its campaign finances with the Secretary of State.

In addition, as a PAC, it could not accept contributions in excess of $2,000 from any one donor.

PPNNE was fined $30,000 after failing to comply with political committee reporting requirements and other campaign finance laws.

Planned Parenthood receives over half a billion in government dollars from taxpayers each year, and needs the same politicians who benefit from the organization’s election donations to repeat their talking points and run interference whenever a threat to their funding is rumored. Live Action News has previously documented how political allies for Planned Parenthood mislead the American public about the “services” the abortion corporation actually provides.

In addition to the above election violations, Live Action News has documented how Planned Parenthood has been cited for overbilling abuses and Medicaid fraud, for violating patient privacy, and for failing to report child sexual abuse.

With a growing list of areas in which Planned Parenthood has been found to have engaged in fraud and other violations of trust, one wonders when Congress will finally pull the plug and defund Planned Parenthood.

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