EXCLUSIVE: Senator Rand Paul and a group of Republican senators are calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland and Small Business Administration (SBA) officials to investigate what they call the “illegal involvement” of Planned Parenthood affiliates in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Fox News has learned.
Fox News exclusively obtained letters that Paul, R-Ky., The senior Republican on the Senate Small Business Committee, sent to Garland, SBA Inspector General Mike Ware, and SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman, calling for their “immediate attention” to the matter, saying the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) has requested PPP loans “with full knowledge of their ineligibility” to receive the funds.
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“We are writing to request your immediate attention to the illegal involvement of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in the Paycheck Protection Program,” Paul, with GOP senses. Marco Rubio, James Risch, Tim Scott, Joni Ernst, James Inhofe, Todd Young, Written John Kennedy, Josh Hawley and Roger Marshall.
Republicans, citing the CARES law passed last year, said PPP eligibility is limited to entities with 500 or fewer employees. Senators also cited previous ASB regulations, saying the administration establishes that a size of an entity is considered “with each of its affiliates in determining eligibility.”
“To obtain a PPP loan, an applicant must certify that he is eligible to receive a loan according to the rules in force at the time of the submission of the application,” wrote the Republican senators. “By performing such certification, an applicant is required to apply the membership rules applicable to PPP and identify its affiliates.”
Republican Senators went on to quote SBA data from May 2020, claiming that the Small Business Administration “notified a number of PPFA affiliates that they had wrongly applied for 38 PPP loans totaling over $ 80 million. “.
The SBA, at the time, according to Republicans, had determined that local PPFA subsidiaries were “not eligible for PPP loans under applicable membership rules and size standards and that the loans they had receipts had to be returned “.
At the time, the SBA cited “PPFA’s control over its local affiliates” in areas such as medical standards, patient transfer affiliates and “an accreditation review process administered every three years. as proof of an affiliated organizational structure ”.
PPFA has nearly 16,000 employees nationwide and, because of its size, Republicans wrote that the SBA last year determined that affiliates were “not eligible for PPP” and asked each affiliate to “return the $ 80 million” of PPP funds that they “had improperly received.” . “
But last month, according to Republican senators, the SBA provided the Senate Small Business Committee with an updated data set on PPP loans as of March 14, which found that most PPFA affiliates “have not returned their PPP funds as requested by the SBA, “but also that two additional affiliates applied for and were approved for a second raffle loan” with full knowledge of their ineligibility.
Republicans have also claimed that at least one additional subsidiary of PPFA has been approved for loan since March 15.
“Borrowers who make incorrect or false eligibility certifications on their PPP application face severe penalties,” they wrote. “For this reason, we respectfully request that you request the Department to verify whether any PPFA affiliates have knowingly made false certification on their PPP loan applications and to pursue all appropriate penalties for any illegal participation in the program.”
Senators called for a full DOJ investigation into the matter, as well as an audit by the SBA Inspector General.
But Jaqueline Ayers, vice president of government relations and public policy for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, criticized the Republicans’ claims as “baseless political attacks.”
“It is disappointing that although Planned Parenthood health centers across the country continue to provide essential health care in their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Republicans in Congress continue to focus on attacks unfounded policies, “Ayers said in a statement to Fox News. Like many other nonprofits and local health care providers, the independent Planned Parenthood 501 (c) (3) organizations that have secured PPP loans have met the eligibility requirements set by Congress and the Small Business Administration. “
According to PPFA, entities that applied for PPP loans were eligible to receive them under the rules of the CARES Act – specifically the membership rule. PPFA also told Fox News that Planned Parenthood affiliates are “independent 501 (c) (3) organizations” and are “not controlled” by PPFA.
PPFA also argued that “nothing” in the CARES Act or the SBA guidelines “prevents such an entity from receiving funding,” and stated that the “federated structure” of the organization is ” no different from many other organizations that have received loans. “
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PPFA also told Fox News that the SBA wrote to “many” PPFA affiliates last spring with a “preliminary finding” on their PPP loans, to which the PPFA affiliates responded by challenging their determination.
“It is time for everyone to come together to fight this pandemic, not for uninformed political attacks on access to essential health care,” Ayers said.
The inquiries come after Paul last month said he had “succeeded” in preventing the Senate Coronavirus Relief Bill from including a provision that would provide P3 assistance to Planned Parenthoods through America.
Fox News first reported last month that Paul “forced” Democrats to remove the provision that would have allowed every Planned Parenthood across the country to receive funds through the PPP, which he said ” was always aimed at small businesses “.
“Democrats knew it was never about COVID relief or helping small businesses,” Paul, R-Ky., Told Fox News. “It was a shameless attempt to fund their radical program on the backs of taxpayers, and I managed to prevent that from happening by keeping those funds from going to abortion factories.”
According to Paul’s office, the House-passed version of the $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief program included a provision that would treat individual Planned Parenthood locations as “separate and distinct entities,” making them eligible for federal aid under the PPP.
Paul’s office highlighted the PPP’s “initial congressional intention” – established last year at the start of the coronavirus pandemic – which was to limit large, well-funded groups to receive a loan and instead come in. helping small businesses affected by COVID-19.
Sources told Fox News Senate Democrats planned to waive membership rules for nonprofits in order to provide paycheck protection loans to the Planned Parenthoods in the House version of the bill. , but that Paul “vigorously” argued to the Senate parliamentarian that the waiver “would only benefit” Planned Parenthood.
Before the parliamentarian could comment on the arguments presented, Democrats tabled an updated version of the bill that did not include the provision, in what Paul’s office called “a concession that avoided creating. a previous”.
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