Planned Parenthood & COVID Relief Loan Fraud: GOP Senators Demand Investigation

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) speaks to reporters as Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.) stands beside him on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., June 23, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

    For the second time, Republican senators have written to the Small Business Administration, asking for an investigation into the loan fraud that Planned Parenthood affiliates committed last spring to improperly obtain COVID-relief funding.

    As I reported exclusively here at NRO last May, two dozen GOP senators wrote to the SBA immediately in the wake of a report showing that Planned Parenthood affiliates had received a total of about $80 million in unforgivable small-business COVID-relief loans — which was explicitly prohibited by last spring’s CARES Act that established the Paycheck Protection Program to disburse such loans.

    Though the program was specifically designed to exclude nonprofits organized into affiliates with more than 500 employees, more than three dozen Planned Parenthood affiliates applied for and received PPP loans. Almost a full year later, there has been little effort to rectify that fraud, aside from GOP requests for accountability.

    According to this latest letter from GOP senators — including Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) — only seven of the 38 Planned Parenthood affiliates had returned the funds they improperly received. The remaining 31 affiliates have ignored the SBA’s efforts to reclaim the loan money.

    The letter points out that some of the group’s affiliates are continuing to collect small-business loans from the program, even though the SBA has notified them of their ineligibility for the last round of loans.

    “On March 25, 2021, Congress took action to extend the PPP until June 30, 2021,” the senators’ letter continues. “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.”

    As I pointed out in my previous reporting on the subject, leaders of the national Planned Parenthood organization were well aware that the CARES Act was written explicitly to exclude large nonprofits from applying for and receiving small-business PPP loans. In fact, the organization tweeted its opposition to the bill on precisely those grounds, lamenting that the legislation prohibited Planned Parenthood from obtaining COVID-relief funds.

    Nevertheless, the organization has denied that it knowingly broke the law and committed fraud to obtain the loans, even though its more than 16,000 employees nationwide render it obviously ineligible for assistance intended to help struggling small businesses.

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