On March 25, 2021, 25 U.S. Senators sent a letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA) requesting an investigation into how Planned Parenthood affiliates have been able to receive millions of dollars in COVID relief funding despite being ineligible for the funding. This is the fourth letter of its kind issued by Members of Congress in 10 months.
Signers of the bill include Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and others.
The problem: Planned Parenthood is ‘clearly ineligible for funding’
Planned Parenthood, argue the senators in their latest letter, is “a national organization with central control over its affiliates which has nearly $2 billion in assets, and over 16,000 employees nationwide…” The SBA rules and guidances surrounding COVID relief funding state that businesses must be small, with no more than 500 employees, in order to qualify for the loans (which are actually grants that don’t need to be paid back).
Despite the fact that the SBA told the Planned Parenthood affiliates that received funding that they must return it, and regardless of the efforts of senators to block Planned Parenthood from receiving further funding, the abortion corporation has continued to accept additional money through the latest COVID relief bill. In this most recent letter, the senators mention just 38 of those Planned Parenthood affiliates, noting that seven of them did return the funding; however, two others actually applied for and received a second round of funding totaling a combined $3.6 million.
“It is unconscionable that SBA continues to approve PPP loans made to organizations which are clearly ineligible for funding,” states the letter. “This is unacceptable, not only because SBA, like other agencies, must be a faithful and responsible steward of taxpayer dollars but also because continuing to make funds available for Planned Parenthood affiliates is in direct violation of the law.
“We urge that the SBA promptly open an investigation into how these loans were made in clear violation of the applicable affiliation rules and if Planned Parenthood, relevant lenders, or staff at the SBA knowingly violated the law, and that appropriate legal action be taken if so.”
The history: 43 PP affiliates illegally received funding, and only 7 returned it
It was a year ago, on March 27, 2020, that then-President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which was passed by the Senate unanimously. In addition to helping American families through the COVID crisis, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of the CARES Act provided $349 billion in aid and loans to small businesses to help cover payroll and other operational costs during the pandemic. It was noted at the time that the 500-employee cap of the PPP disqualified Planned Parenthood from receiving any of the funding.
However, it was soon revealed that despite the rules, Planned Parenthood managed to apply for and receive $80 million in COVID relief funds through the PPP. In May of 2020, U.S. Senators penned a letter to the Department of Justice asking it to investigate the situation. The following day, the senators penned a second letter, this time to the SBA, calling for an investigation.
Two months later, in July 2020, it was confirmed that 43 Planned Parenthood affiliates did indeed receive PPP COVID funding meant for small businesses — between $65.8 million and $135 million, according to reports. The SBA told Planned Parenthood that the money had to be returned, but only seven affiliates did so.
It wasn’t until January of 2021 that the senators sent a third letter, their second to the SBA, urging an investigation into how Planned Parenthood was able to secure and retain COVID relief funding. Though months had gone by since the SBA told Planned Parenthood to return the money, the majority of the funding Planned Parenthood received remained in its wallet.
In March 2021, as a new wave of COVID relief funding was about to reach businesses through the PPP, Sen. Rand Paul announced that he had forced Democrats to remove a provision from the $1.9 trillion bill which would have allowed Planned Parenthood to legally receive the funding this time around. The provision would have allowed individual Planned Parenthood affiliates to be treated as separate businesses, apart from the main organization, making each of them eligible for the COVID funding. With that provision struck, it appeared that Planned Parenthood would definitely not be receiving PPP funds, though it would likely receive other COVID funding after Democrats refused to include the Hyde Amendment (a four-decades-old rider which prohibits federal taxpayer dollars from funding abortions) in the latest COVID relief bill.
Now it appears that regardless, Planned Parenthood continues to line its bank accounts with money from the PPP meant for small, struggling businesses, not large organizations that accumulated $1 billion in excess revenue over the past decade and already receive $1.7 million a day from U.S. taxpayers.
“On March 25, 2021, U.S. Congress took action to extend the PPP until June 30, 2021,” wrote the senators. “We are concerned that this extension will give remaining Planned Parenthood affiliates time to illegally obtain funds from the program as the SBA has yet to take action on this issue.”
The facts: Planned Parenthood is not struggling financially
Planned Parenthood receives an exorbitant amount of money from the federal government and while it claims to have struggled throughout the pandemic, its layoffs have been more related to internal scandal than COVID-19. Some independent abortion businesses have faced financial troubles amid the pandemic due to abortionists being unwilling to travel amid lockdowns or risk catching the virus. However, Planned Parenthood has been financially able to weather the pandemic, according to abortion industry insiders, thanks to the half a billion in taxpayer dollars it receives each year.
The truth is that Planned Parenthood used the pandemic to expand access to the abortion pill under the guise of COVID-19 and in no way needs or deserves PPP funding.
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