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Senators Launch Coronavirus Money-Trail Investigation — DOJ Involved

REUTERS/Carlos Barria
  • Twenty-seven Republican senators called on the Department of Justice to investigate improper Paycheck Protection Program funding of Planned Parenthood in a Thursday letter.
  • The letter addresses reports that Planned Parenthood affiliates applied for and received over $80 million in coronavirus funding “despite actual knowledge that they were ineligible for such loans.”
  • “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,” the senators told the DOJ.

Twenty-seven Republican senators called on the Department of Justice to investigate potentially improper Paycheck Protection Program funding of Planned Parenthood in a Thursday letter.

Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton led 26 other GOP senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in sending a letter to Attorney General William Barr that urges the Justice Department to investigate reports that 37 Planned Parenthood affiliates applied for and received over $80 million in coronavirus funding “despite actual knowledge that they were ineligible for such loans.”

The letter said the Planned Parenthood Action Fund issued a March 25 statement on the CARES Act that indicates the group knew its affiliates would be ineligible for the loan program.

“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,” Planned Parenthood Action Fund said.

Planned Parenthood did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“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,” the GOP letter said.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 08: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) speaks to the media after attending a briefing with administration officials about the situation with Iran, at the U.S. Capitol on January 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“It was not designed to give government funds to politicized, partisan abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” the letter continued. “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.”

Cotton is joined by a number of other prominent Republican senators, including Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Ted Cruz of Texas, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

CARES Act statutes expressly prohibited organizations such as these Planned Parenthood affiliates from receiving PPP funds, Cotton’s office said in a press release. The Small Business Administration had also confirmed in April that the SBA’s affiliation rules applied to the new PPP, excluding organizations like Planned Parenthood from receiving such funding.

President Donald Trump’s administration had also taken deliberate steps to prevent the nation’s largest abortion provider from receiving any of the coronavirus funding.

Fox News reported Tuesday that the Small Business Administration (SBA) would contact the Planned Parenthood affiliates involved and letting these affiliates know that Planned Parenthood is not eligible for distributions, since the organization has more than 500 employees.

The SBA told the DCNF Wednesday: “We do not comment about individual borrowers,” and did not respond to further requests for comment Thursday.

“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,” the letter tells Barr. “As you know, fraudulent loan applications can trigger both civil and criminal penalties.”

The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.

Author: Mary Margaret Olohan

Source: Daily Caller: Senators Urge DOJ To Investigate Planned Parenthood For Taking Coronavirus Funding

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