Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PFFA) affiliates have been ordered to return $80 million in federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that the Small Business Administration says were inappropriately obtained.
According to a letter obtained by Fox News, the SBA says affiliates of larger organizations with more than 500 employees aren’t eligible for PPP distributions. PFFA alone has more than 600 employees.
A Planned Parenthood affiliate in Metropolitan Washington, for example, received a $1,328,000 PPP loan after claiming eligibility in accordance with the SBA’s affiliation rules.
According to the New York Post, the Metropolitan Washington Planned Parenthood’s request for money came just months after the affiliate’s president and CEO, Laura Meyers, vowed to go without federal funds from the Trump administration.
“Planned Parenthood is never going to allow the Trump-Pence administration to bully us into withholding critical health information from our patients,” Meyers said last August after the White House banned Planned Parenthood clinics from making abortion referrals if they wanted to continue receiving federal funds. Meyers vowed to do without federal money rather than comply with the order.
Above mandatory repayment, the SBA warned more “severe penalties” were possible. Incorrect or false eligibility certifications by PPP recipients could result in criminal or civil sanctions if the SBA determines that borrowers made knowingly false statements.
According to Fox, the largest single government loan to Planned Parenthood was a $7.5 million allotment sent to the Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties in California. Another Planned Parenthood affiliate reportedly received a loan but declined it.
Several U.S. Senators, including Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, and James Lankford called for an investigation and said the money needed to be returned, warning that criminal prosecution may be appropriate.
Rubio, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, said it was “clear” that Planned Parenthood had broken the rules.
“There is no ambiguity in the legislation that passed or public record around its passage that organizations such as Planned Parenthood, whose parent organization has close to half a billion dollars in assets, is not eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program,” Rubio said in a press release. “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.”
“The money needs to be recovered and if anybody knowingly falsified applications, they need to be prosecuted,” Hawley said in a tweet.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) May 20, 2020
Sen. Lankford wrote that “every dollar Planned Parenthood took from PPP was a dollar that did not get to legitimate small businesses.”
“With an annual budget of over one billion dollars and the explicit Small Business Administration affiliation rules made it clear that Planned Parenthood was not and is not eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program,” Lankford wrote, according to Fox. “Like other large organizations that returned monies they were not eligible for, Planned Parenthood should immediately repay the American people the money they took from deserving small businesses and non-profits.”
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