The Corner

Politics & Policy

Exclusive: Republican Senators Call On DOJ to Investigate Planned Parenthood for Fraud

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) wears a protective face mask during the coronavirus outbreak on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., May 12, 2020. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

This morning, Republican senators — including Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) — sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr, calling on the Department of Justice to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood for improperly claiming coronavirus-relief loans designed for small businesses. The letter was spearheaded by Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and signed by more than two dozen GOP senators.

Earlier this week, news broke that dozens of Planned Parenthood affiliates had applied for and received a total of about $80 million in forgivable loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), established by the CARES Act for small-business relief, despite the fact that Congress explicitly excluded nonprofit organizations set up as affiliates — large, nonprofit organizations such as Planned Parenthood — from applying for that funding.

Based on its most recent financial report, Planned Parenthood had total net assets close to $2 billion and total revenue of about $1.7 billion last fiscal year. The group operates hundreds of clinics across the country, organized into dozens of affiliates, and employs about 16,000 workers, far exceeding the 500-employee cap applied to the small-business loan program.

According to this letter, a copy of which was provided exclusively to National Review, more than two dozen GOP senators want Barr to investigate and prosecute “those who would fraudulently steal millions of dollars in taxpayer funds during this pandemic.”

“These Planned Parenthood entities self-certified eligibility for these loans despite the clear ineligibility under the statutory text of [CARES Act],” the senators write. “It was also well-publicized at the time that the CARES Act did not allow Planned Parenthood affiliates to utilize these loans.” They point out that Trump-administration officials publicly clarified that the affiliate restriction meant no funds from the PPP could go to Planned Parenthood.

Despite that, dozens of Planned Parenthood affiliates applied for these loans, and 37 received them. The letter demonstrates that Planned Parenthood executives themselves appeared aware that the program excluded them from applying for the loans: “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.’”

In other words, the organization publicly acknowledged that it was excluded from the loan program, and complained about that fact, just before dozens of its affiliates self-certified as eligible for the loans and claimed them.

“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,” the senators continue. “As you know, fraudulent loan applications can trigger both civil and criminal penalties.”

The letter concludes by stating that the PPP was designed to assist small businesses and nonprofits in meeting payroll and retaining their employees during the COVID-19 shutdowns. “It was not designed to give government funds to politicized, partisan abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” the senators write. “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 letter was signed by Cotton and McConnell, along with Senators Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), John Boozman (Ark.), Mike Braun (Ind.), Bill Cassidy (La.), John Cornyn (Texas), Ted Cruz (Texas), Steve Daines (Mont.), Mike Enzi (Wy.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), Jim Inhofe (Okla.), John Kennedy (La.), James Lankford (Okla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Kelly Loeffler (Ga.), David Perdue (Ga.), Jim Risch (Idaho), Mitt Romney (Utah), Mike Rounds (S.D.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Tim Scott (S.C.), John Thune (S.D.), and Todd Young (Ind.).

Read the full text of the letter here.

Editor’s note: This piece has been updated since its initial publication.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Five Thoughts on the George Floyd Story

After a night of riots, looting, and arson in Minneapolis to protest the police killing of George Floyd, five thoughts spring to mind: One: It is always hazardous to draw sweeping conclusions about society from individual criminal cases. Every individual case involves individual facts, and those facts often ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Five Thoughts on the George Floyd Story

After a night of riots, looting, and arson in Minneapolis to protest the police killing of George Floyd, five thoughts spring to mind: One: It is always hazardous to draw sweeping conclusions about society from individual criminal cases. Every individual case involves individual facts, and those facts often ... Read More
White House

There’s No Fix for Trump’s Bad Tweets

Whether social media have been good or bad for society is an open question. Whether social media have been good or bad for President Trump isn’t as difficult to discern. For even the most sober-minded and introspective figures, Twitter can serve as a dangerous temptation. For a man as capricious and mercurial ... Read More
White House

There’s No Fix for Trump’s Bad Tweets

Whether social media have been good or bad for society is an open question. Whether social media have been good or bad for President Trump isn’t as difficult to discern. For even the most sober-minded and introspective figures, Twitter can serve as a dangerous temptation. For a man as capricious and mercurial ... Read More

The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime

Thomas Abt’s book Bleeding Out (2019) has garnered a fair amount of attention for its proposals to deal with gun violence in mainly black urban neighborhoods. The entire focus of the book is on interventions in high-crime locations to stem the violence, including: hot-spots policing, working with young males at ... Read More

The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime

Thomas Abt’s book Bleeding Out (2019) has garnered a fair amount of attention for its proposals to deal with gun violence in mainly black urban neighborhoods. The entire focus of the book is on interventions in high-crime locations to stem the violence, including: hot-spots policing, working with young males at ... Read More
Economy & Business

The Spread of the Debt Virus

The current U.S. budget deficit could soon exceed a record $4 trillion. The massive borrowing is being driven both by prior budget profligacy and by a hurried effort by the Donald Trump administration to pump liquidity into a quarantined America. The shutdown has left the country on the cusp of a ... Read More
Economy & Business

The Spread of the Debt Virus

The current U.S. budget deficit could soon exceed a record $4 trillion. The massive borrowing is being driven both by prior budget profligacy and by a hurried effort by the Donald Trump administration to pump liquidity into a quarantined America. The shutdown has left the country on the cusp of a ... Read More
Economy & Business

Boiling Over

Andrew Ross Sorkin’s frustration over having missed so much of the post-COVID realities in markets and economic life boiled over this morning in one of the more outrageous outbursts I have ever witnessed on financial media. Perhaps this outburst was rivaled only by his behavior during the March COVID market ... Read More
Economy & Business

Boiling Over

Andrew Ross Sorkin’s frustration over having missed so much of the post-COVID realities in markets and economic life boiled over this morning in one of the more outrageous outbursts I have ever witnessed on financial media. Perhaps this outburst was rivaled only by his behavior during the March COVID market ... Read More