Planned Parenthood is no "small" business. In 2018, America's hulk of an abortion provider reported net assets of $2.2 billion -- so the idea that they would be competing for stimulus loans is absurd. And yet, to the shock of people up and down East Capitol Street, that's exactly what dozens of its affiliates did. Even Republicans, who've come to expect this kind of larceny from Planned Parenthood, have a hard time believing it. While mom and pop shops struggle to survive, the Democrats' favorite abortion tycoon managed to rip off $80 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). And the Trump administration wants it back. Now.
When Fox News broke the story late Monday night, Republicans were furious. Planned Parenthood, an organization that already rakes in a half-billion dollars in taxpayer dollars had the audacity to cheat Americans out of $80 million more. What's worse, they poached that money from desperate employers, who need those loans to stay afloat. "Every dollar Planned Parenthood took from PPP was a dollar that did not get to legitimate small businesses," Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) fumed. And, as several other senators pointed out, they had to lie to get it.
"They just don't qualify under the affiliate rules," Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) insisted. "It's as simple as that. Leave aside all the other issues, they do not qualify." The CARES Act made it clear that only nonprofits with 500 employees or less were eligible. Planned Parenthood, at 16,000, doesn't even come close. "It's hard to conclude anything other than that Planned Parenthood committed fraud," Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) argued.
That ought to be enough, Hawley and 26 other senators wrote to Attorney General William Barr, to trigger an investigation. Planned Parenthood knew the rules. As they point out, "[The group'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.'"
"It seems clear," the senators argue, "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." And let's not forget, FRC's Connor Semelsberger points out, this money is different than the funds Planned Parenthood normally gets. These loans could be turned into grants specifically to cover payroll costs. In other words, during a time of unprecedented death and loss, Americans would be directly paying abortionists' salaries. It doesn't get more disgusting than that.
Of course, the other outrage is this: Planned Parenthood didn't need the loans, because guess what? They were still operating! Even in states where governors explicitly told them to stop, they went ahead performing abortions anyway -- cramming women into unsafe waiting rooms and openly defying states' orders. While everyone else was taking a hit to their bottom line because of the lockdown, their cash registers didn't stop ringing. In fact, some affiliates bragged they'd never been busier! Fear, it turned out, was good for business.
"They need to return this money, and they need to be held accountable," Rubio said sternly. "And whoever helped them do this knowingly [also] needs to be held accountable. That includes potentially the people on staff at the Small Business Association (SBA), the banks, and anybody else." But don't expect liberals to sell out their pals. "What's really problematic about this," Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) told me on "Washington Watch," is that "while the Democrats want to call out companies that received the money legitimately... [those businesses] gave the money back, whether it be Ruth's Chris or Shake Shack or others... [Now] we're trying to push on Planned Parenthood to give the $80 million back. And they're resisting big time... We expect [Speaker Nancy Pelosi's oversight committee] to go after these folks as well."
But don't hold your breath. This is, after all, the same Nancy Pelosi who tried to tear down the barriers to that money in the HEROES Act. "The Democrats want the nation's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, to qualify for taxpayer money meant for small businesses, churches, and charities," Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told the Daily Caller. "Congress ought to devote every cent of federal funding to life-saving causes, instead of paying off purveyors of death."
Planned Parenthood doesn't need a bailout. It needs a blackout of taxpayer funds!