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May 21, 2020

Inhofe Joins Cotton, Colleagues in Urging DOJ to Investigate Improper PPP Funding for Planned Parenthood

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) joined Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) along with Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.) today in sending a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr urging the Department of Justice to investigate whether dozens of Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country applied for and received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) despite knowing they were ineligible to apply.

Under the statuary text of the CARES Act, organizations like these affiliates were expressly prohibited from receiving PPP funds. Additionally, the Small Business Administration confirmed last month that its standing affiliation rules apply to the new PPP, which excludes organizations like Planned Parenthood that employ its type of governance and affiliation structure and exceed the cap on total employees.

The letter reads, in part:

"The Paycheck Protection Program established by the CARES Act was designed by Congress to help struggling small businesses and nonprofit organizations by giving them access to low-cost loans for expenses like keeping their employees on payroll during this pandemic. It was not designed to give government funds to politicized, partisan abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. The funds in the program are not unlimited, and were depleted once already because of high demand. Planned Parenthood fraudulently taking tens of millions of dollars that were intended to help keep those small businesses and nonprofit organizations afloat cannot stand and must be addressed."

The full text of the letter can be found below or here.

The Honorable William Barr

Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Barr,

We write to urge you to investigate the activities of dozens of Planned Parenthood affiliates that reportedly applied for and received approximately $80 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, despite actual knowledge that they were ineligible for such loans.

This week, it was publicly reported that at least thirty-seven Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country applied for and received millions of dollars in Paycheck Protection Program loans administered by the Small Business Administration ("SBA"). These Planned Parenthood entities self-certified eligibility for these loans despite the clear ineligibility under the statutory text of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security ("CARES") Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020. It was also well-publicized at the time that the CARES Act did not allow Planned Parenthood affiliates to utilize these loans.

The implementing interim final rule, issued by the SBA on April 15, 2020, explicitly stated that the SBA's affiliation rules apply to the new Paycheck Protection Program, which excludes organizations like Planned Parenthood that employ its type of governance and affiliation structure and exceed the cap on total employees. Trump administration officials were also quoted in public reports, explicitly clarifying that the SBA's interim final rule ensured that no funds from the Paycheck Protection Program could go to Planned Parenthood.

Most damningly, Planned Parenthood's own political action committee, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, issued a statement on the CARES Act after the Act's passage in the Senate, saying: "The bill gives the Small Business Administration broad discretion to exclude Planned Parenthood affiliates and other non-profits serving people with low incomes and deny them benefits under the new small business loan program."

Based on these statements, it seems clear that Planned Parenthood knew that it was ineligible for the small business loans under the CARES Act long before its affiliates fraudulently self-certified that they were eligible. As you know, fraudulent loan applications can trigger both civil and criminal penalties.

The Paycheck Protection Program established by the CARES Act was designed by Congress to help struggling small businesses and nonprofit organizations by giving them access to low-cost loans for expenses like keeping their employees on payroll during this pandemic. It was not designed to give government funds to politicized, partisan abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. The funds in the program are not unlimited, and were depleted once already because of high demand. Planned Parenthood fraudulently taking tens of millions of dollars that were intended to help keep those small businesses and nonprofit organizations afloat cannot stand and must be addressed.

Thank you for your work investigating and prosecuting those who would fraudulently steal millions of dollars in taxpayer funds during this pandemic.

Sincerely,

 


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