Washington D.C., Mar 26, 2021 / 03:00 pm (CNA).- A letter signed by 25 Republican senators is demanding an investigation into Planned Parenthood affiliates illegally accessing emergency small business loans.
“We write to request an investigation concerning how affiliates of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (‘Planned Parenthood’), a national organization with central control over its affiliates which has nearly $2 billion in assets, and over 16,000 employees nationwide, are continually able to obtain loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) when Small Business Administration (SBA) rules and guidance has made it clear that they are ineligible for such funds,” says the letter, reported by the Washington Examiner.
The letter was dated March 25 and addressed to Isabel Guzman, the administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA).
The Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, was set up under the CARES Act to provide emergency loans to small businesses and eligible non-profits to keep employees on payroll during the pandemic; the loans could become grants if certain conditions were met. On Thursday, Congress extended the program until June 30, 2021.
Planned Parenthood was supposed to be ineligible for the loans, which were specifically targeted for smaller employers with 500 or fewer employees.
“Planned Parenthood, which operates in governance and practice as an affiliated group, is ineligible for these loans,” the senators said.
The organization’s leader even decried its attempted exclusion from emergency loans. When the CARES Act was passed by Congress, Planned Parenthood’s acting president Alexis McGill Johnson stated the bill “attempts to target Planned Parenthood health centers — a cruel disservice to the millions of people across the country who are already struggling to access care.”
According to the senators’ letter, however, 38 Planned Parenthood affiliates have received “over $83 million” in PPP loans. Seven affiliates did ultimately return their loans, but the remaining affiliates did not, the letter said. In addition, two of the 31 affiliates applied for and received a second round of PPP loans, totaling $3.6 million.
“It is unconscionable that the SBA continues to approve PPP loans made to organizations which are clearly ineligible for funding,” said the senators. “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.”
The 25 senators requested that SBA “promptly open an investigation” into how and why the Planned Parenthood affiliates received PPP loans, and to find out “if Planned Parenthood, relevant lenders, or staff at the SBA knowingly violated the law.” The senators requested that “appropriate legal action be taken” if it was found that laws were purposefully broken.
Noting that the program was recently extended, the senators expressed concern that “this extension will give remaining Planned Parenthood affiliates time to illegally obtain funds from the program” as the SBA has not taken action on past loans.
“Moving forward, the SBA must ensure that the agency upholds both the letter of the law and the intent of Congress in implementing this critical program to protect America’s small businesses,” said the letter. The senators pledged to “monitor the situation” and to “vigilantly demand an investigation.”
Among the signatories of the letter are Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.) and Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), as well as Senate Pro-Life Caucus chair Steve Daines (R-Mont.).
In May 2020, more than two dozen senators asked for an investigation by the Department of Justice into Planned Parenthood affiliates receiving PPP loans.
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