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DILLER: Planned Parenthood’s millions still missing

Politifact and GAO fall short in accounting for abortion giant’s $1.3 billion from Uncle Sam

Last June, we broke the story titled "Planned Parenthood's missing millions" that fo- cused on $1.3 billion of government money received by Planned Parenthood from 2003 to 2008, which was left unaccounted for when the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on the expenditures of federal funds by the abortion giant.

Our question to Planned Parenthood was: Where are those missing millions?

The Florida-based political "fact checker" Politifact joined with Planned Parenthood in a March 25 report headlined "Planned Parenthood funding: Did the GAO really find millions missing?" It attempted to exonerate the abortion giant's lack of transparency in accounting for the large amounts of federal taxpayer money it received. However, they succeeded only in raising more questions.

To its credit, Politifact acknowledged the numbers in my June 2010 opinion article for The Washington Times are correct: Planned Parenthood's annual reports show more than $2 billion in government income between 2003 and 2008. The GAO report could account for the expenditure of only $657 million of that amount, relying on information provided by Planned Parenthood in its own Single Audit Act reports. That leaves a huge question mark over the remaining $1.3 billion.

Politifact said that comparing those two sets of figures, both of which emanated from Planned Parenthood, was like "comparing apples to oranges." The fact checker was apparently claiming that because the GAO intervened to compile the numbers that Planned Parenthood furnished through its own reports, Planned Parenthood figures were no longer being compared to Planned Parenthood figures. Really?

In the report, Politifact asked Planned Parenthood spokesman Tait Sye to help explain the billion-plus dollar mystery. Every point Mr. Sye and Politifact made underscored the inability of the GAO to fully report the abortion giant's federal income based on the information it had from Planned Parenthood.

They discuss how the GAO report counted only direct federal funding to Planned Parenthood and that the GAO report does not appear to include income from federal and state partnerships like Medicaid. For good measure, Mr. Sye also says that Planned Parenthood has more than 80 affiliates, but the GAO only counted federal money going to 21 affiliates.

This is precisely the reason we did not rely on the GAO report for Planned Parenthood's income figures, but went instead to Planned Parenthood's annual reports.

However, with regard to Planned Parenthood's expenditure of federal funds, the GAO relied on Single Audit Act reports from 85 Planned Parenthood affiliates. This includes every affiliate that met the $500,000 expenditure Single Audit Act threshold.

Indeed, as Politifact says, Planned Parenthood's annual reports include state and local government funding, not just federal. However, for the ratio of reported expenditures of federal funds to drop abruptly from 72 percent to 32 percent of its total government income from one GAO report to the next as it did, the organization's overall government income would have had to explode by 225 percent while federal income and offsetting expenditures remained exactly the same.

Yet the states' share of Medicaid costs remained stable at 42-43 percent from 1997 through 2008 and Title X funding increased every year.

If Planned Parenthood maintains that its federal income versus federal expenditures are in balance, then only a huge increase in some other government income could explain this change.

Politifact's attempted exoneration of Planned Parenthood hinges upon convincing readers that no one knows how much federal income the abortion giant received.

If the Government Accountability Office doesn't know how much federal money Planned Parenthood has been given, how in the world can the taxpayers know? If Planned Parenthood is not held accountable to 32 members of Congress requesting information from the GAO about its income and expenditure of federal funds, how can we taxpayers ever hope to know to what extent Planned Parenthood is fleecing us? Is Planned Parenthood really going to be allowed to ingest almost $1 million of taxpayer money every day (according to its annual report) and not be held accountable for how it spends it, then justify its lack of accountability by saying the Government Accountability Office doesn't know how much federal money the abortion giant received?

It is time to strip all government funding from the nation's largest abortion chain now.

Rita Diller is the National Director of American Life League's Stop Planned Parenthood project.

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