- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 21, 2020

A group of Republican senators urged the Justice Department to investigate how dozens of Planned Parenthood affiliates got more than $80 million in coronavirus relief, saying the organization’s billion-dollar revenue should preclude affiliates from collecting the money.

In a letter Thursday to Attorney General William P. Barr, the senators cited a statement by Planned Parenthood’s political action committee that noted the Small Business Administration had “broad discretion to exclude Planned Parenthood affiliates and other non-profits.”

The Republicans said that statement was evidence that the abortion provider knew it did not qualify for the loans, making the applications fraudulent and illegal.

“It seems clear that Planned Parenthood knew that it was ineligible for the small business loans under the CARES Act long before its affiliates fraudulently self-certified that they were eligible,” the Republicans wrote. “As you know, fraudulent loan applications can trigger both civil and criminal penalties.”

A total of $80 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans went to 37 Planned Parenthood locations across the country, Fox News reported Tuesday.

The federal paycheck program offers businesses with fewer than 500 employees of up to $10 million to cover eight weeks of payroll and other expenses arising out of the coronavirus crisis.

But Planned Parenthood has at least 600 employees in its main office alone, Fox News had reported.

Planned Parenthood has defended the loans, saying its affiliates are independent entities and thus qualify for the loans under the Small Business Administration’s requirements.

“Like many other local nonprofits and health care providers, some independent Planned Parenthood 501(c)(3) organizations applied for and were awarded loans under the eligibility rules established by the CARES Act and the Small Business Administration (SBA), which they met,” said Jacqueline Ayers, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s vice president of government relations and public policy.

Republicans say the loans are being misused because the Paycheck Protection Program was designed to assist local small businesses struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The program “was not designed to give government funds to politicized, partisan abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” they wrote. “The funds in the program are not unlimited, and were depleted once already because of high demand.”

“Planned Parenthood fraudulently taking tens of millions of dollars that were intended to help keep those small businesses and nonprofit organizations afloat cannot stand and must be addressed,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by 27 Republican senators, including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, John Kennedy of Louisiana and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.

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