Planned Parenthood Improperly Applied for and Unlawfully Received $80 MILLION of Coronavirus Relief Funds Meant for Struggling Small Businesses
Planned Parenthood was just caught in the act. Again.
This time, it is being revealed that at least 37 of Planned Parenthood’s 49 affiliates unlawfully obtained a total of approximately $80 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – taxpayer funds that were meant to go to small businesses as part of the CARES Act. This Coronavirus relief package specifically included language preventing Planned Parenthood and its regional affiliates from obtaining a single dime of these funds. The reason for this prohibition was simple—Planned Parenthood and its more than 16,000 employees clearly do not qualify for small business loans intended for businesses with less than 500 employees.
At the ACLJ, we are preparing to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to find out if Planned Parenthood fraudulently obtained these funds – funds that it had no lawful right to obtain.
Despite the fact that the CARES Act specifically excluded large affiliated organizations like Planned Parenthood from receiving relief funds, Planned Parenthood somehow managed to apply for and improperly receive $80 MILLION.
As reported by Fox News:
Thirty-seven Planned Parenthood affiliates applied for and received a total of $80 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), . . . and now the federal government wants the money back, saying the affiliates should have known they weren't eligible for the coronavirus stimulus payouts.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is reaching out to each involved Planned Parenthood affiliate explaining that affiliates of larger organizations with more than 500 employees aren't eligible for PPP distributions, Fox News is told. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PFFA) alone has had more than 600 employees. A Planned Parenthood affiliate in Metropolitan Washington (PPMW), for example, will receive a letter stating that although self-certified that it was eligible for a $1,328,000 PPP loan in accordance with the SBA's affiliation rules, it will need to return the money.
“Should have known” is an understatement. 75% of Planned Parenthood’s affiliates applied for and obtained these funds, and, on average, received over $2 million per affiliate. The fact that Planned Parenthood was ineligible for these funds was a national news story and a point of negotiation between the House and Senate before the CARES Act passed. This was no accident. It’s clear there is nefarious intent here.
In fact, some of the same Planned Parenthood affiliates that have been embroiled in the scandal involving the sale of aborted babies’ body parts received some of the largest payments. For example, “[t]he Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties received a $7.5 million loan – the largest granted to the organization’s affiliates.”
At the ACLJ, our legal and Government Affairs teams worked around the clock to ensure that the CARES Act sent much-needed Coronavirus relief to where it is needed most, not Planned Parenthood. Congress and the Trump Administration went to great lengths to prohibit this very thing from happening.
When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi attempted to pad the original bill with funding for abortion, we caught it and helped ensure that the language was stripped out. This helped ensure that the Hyde Amendment was enforced, and that affiliated groups with more than 500 employees – like Planned Parenthood – would be ineligible. But somehow, Planned Parenthood decided it was above the law again, and went ahead and applied for those funds anyway in clear contravention to the law.
Planned Parenthood has ZERO claim to a single penny of those PPP funds. Calling Planned Parenthood a small business is like calling Apple or Amazon small tech start-ups. It’s the biggest player in its sick game.
There’s a reason we often refer to Planned Parenthood as the “abortion giant.” Last year alone, it raked in $616,800,000 in taxpayer funded support, part of its $1.6 BILLION in annual revenue. In addition, it reported over $110 million in profits – a banner year for the organization – for killing a record-breaking 345,672 defenseless babies.
The reality is that Planned Parenthood is exploiting this pandemic (just like they did in states that were limiting elective procedures) in order to pad its bottom line.
Senator Marco Rubio (FL), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, released a statement demanding Planned Parenthood return the funds, as it clearly had no claim to them:
There is no ambiguity in the legislation that passed or public record around its passage that organizations such as Planned Parenthood . . . [are] not eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.
Those funds must be returned immediately. Furthermore, the SBA should open an investigation into how these loans were made in clear violation of the applicable affiliation rules[;] and if Planned Parenthood, the banks, or staff at the SBA knowingly violated the law[,] all appropriate legal options should be pursued.
Senator Ben Sasse (NE), who is one of the sponsors of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, bluntly called Planned Parenthood’s actions an attempt to defraud the American people, at a time when so many are struggling to stay afloat:
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business, tried to defraud taxpayers during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The Paycheck Protection Program is supposed to be a lifeline for small businesses, not a slush fund for Big Abortion. The administration needs to reclaim that money and fire the bureaucrats who signed off on this scam.
Senator Sasse cuts to the real question here: did Planned Parenthood or its affiliates knowingly and willfully violate the law, defrauding American taxpayers, to get its hands on this money it knew it wasn’t actually qualified for? If that turns out to be the case, there needs to be a full investigation and its representatives must be held accountable.
As Senator Josh Hawley (MO) echoed his colleagues’ statements on Twitter: “The money needs to be recovered and if anybody knowingly falsified applications, they need to be prosecuted.”
In fact, as Senator Hawley explained in a letter to the SBA:
Planned Parenthood is not a small business. It is a multi-billion-dollar company. In the fiscal year ending last June, Planned Parenthood had $2.3 billion in assets and nearly $2 billion in revenue. The year before, Planned Parenthood paid its CEO more than $1 million. And now, Planned Parenthood has diverted $80 million from actual small businesses during a global pandemic even though Planned Parenthood knew it was ineligible for this program . . . . The ease with which Planned Parenthood was able to unlawfully divert $80 million should concern everyone. . . .
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act prohibits Planned Parenthood from receiving PPP funds as Planned Parenthood’s own documents state that each organization is a “Planned Parenthood Affiliate.” Planned Parenthood therefore has about 16,000 employees in total, more than 30 times higher than the limit for the Paycheck Protection Program.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went straight to the point: “Disrespecting human life is their central mission. . . . It goes without saying: The money must be sent back immediately. Right now.”
Planned Parenthood seems to have a pattern of finding loopholes to get its claws on money from taxpayer-supported programs that it is expressly prohibited from. We’ve told you before how it was siphoning off $60 million from the Title X program for years, despite the fact that the authorizing statute clearly states that none of the money is to be given to organizations that perform or recommend abortion as part of family planning services.
Thankfully, the Trump Administration, through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), enacted a new rule – which the ACLJ and our members submitted comments overwhelmingly supporting – to block Planned Parenthood from Title X funds once and for all. This is a rule that Planned Parenthood has repeatedly fought and failed to overturn.
Yet somehow, in the face of all of this, Speaker Pelosi is focused on finding new ways to expand Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding even further with a new $3 trillion bill she rammed through the House that would let Planned Parenthood siphon off millions more of Coronavirus aid meant for true small businesses and struggling Americans. In fact, the Speaker’s bill that just passed the House strips away abortion-funding restrictions from numerous provisions, opening up more than a trillion dollars to the abortion industry.
This is why we must continue to fight to defund Planned Parenthood. It continually demands special treatment, filing reckless lawsuits to continue performing abortions during a pandemic when states are trying to conserve medical equipment and fight the spread of the virus. This endangers the public and amounts to nothing more than a hoarding of every tax dollar it can get.
At the ACLJ, we aren’t just talking about these abuses; we’re doing something about them. We are preparing to file a FOIA request to find out how Planned Parenthood unlawfully obtained these funds, whether it committed fraud, and whether it committed or was engaged in any other illegal or legally dubious actions to obtain this money.
Planned Parenthood has to be exposed. The money needs to be returned. And, if the evidence is established, the wrongdoers must be prosecuted.
UPDATE 05.22.2020: We have just submitted a FOIA request to SBA to find out how Planned Parenthood unlawfully obtained $80 million in Coronavirus relief funding and whether the abortion giant committed fraud or other illegal acts. We’ll keep you updated as our investigation continues.