By Duncan Smith
Congressional Republicans are demanding that Planned Parenthood officials return some $80 million in Paycheck Protection Program money paid out as part of a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief measure passed last month.
In all, 37 Planned Parenthood affiliates applied for and received tens of millions in loans tied to the PPP, Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” reported Tuesday.
News of the groups’ attempts to secure PPP-affiliated loans comes after the head of the Planned Parenthood affiliate in Metropolitan Washington (PPMW), president and CEO Laura Meyers, promised to turn down the money.
“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.
That affiliate is eligible for a $1,328,000 PPP loan in accordance with the Small Business Association’s affiliation rules, but the SBA is now demanding the money back.
“Taxpayer money should never support an abortion or prop up an industry that’s sole purpose is ending life. Pay it back,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) Wednesday.
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and James Lankford (R-Okla.) all demanded that Planned Parenthood return the funds, while Rubio and Hawley have called for an investigation and warned that criminal prosecution may be in order, The Epoch Times reported.
Rubio, who once served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, said it is obvious that Planned Parenthood has violated PPP rules.
Yet another example of the #PPP program being misused. Florida’s taxpayers should not be footing to bail out a huge organization like Planned Parenthood.
This money should be returned immediately.https://t.co/nt6zuKtUEf
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) May 20, 2020
“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.
“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,” he added.
Hawley agreed, writing on Twitter, “The money needs to be recovered and if anybody knowingly falsified applications, they need to be prosecuted.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) May 20, 2020
The SBA noted that businesses with more than 500 employees were not eligible to receive funds under the PPP. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PFFA) alone has had more than 600 employees, Fox News reported.
Lankford blasted Planned Parenthood’s actions as well.
“Planned Parenthood’s budget of over one billion dollars a year and the explicit Small Business Administration affiliation rules made it clear from the start of the program that Planned Parenthood was not and is not eligible for a small business Paycheck Protection Program loan,” Lankford he said, according to a statement on his Senate website. “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.”