Planned Parenthood is in hot water with the federal government for applying for and obtaining more than $80 million in COVID-19 relief funds under the CARES Act.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) informed approximately three dozen Planned Parenthood chapters of its preliminary determination that they are ineligible for funding under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). In addition, the SBA directed that the Planned Parenthood affiliates return the PPP funds they had received.
The Paycheck Protection Program provides financial assistance to small businesses with 500 or fewer employees. The SBA has determined that Planned Parenthood chapters are “centrally controlled by the broader Planned Parenthood Federation of America, they count as one entity, which is too large to qualify for the aid.” Planned Parenthood argues that its various affiliates are independent and self-governing, and are therefore eligible for funds because they each have fewer than 500 employees. However, this argument is undermined by a statement on Planned Parenthood’s own website conceding its ineligibility. If Planned Parenthood is found to have committed fraud in applying for PPP funds, it could face civil and criminal penalties.
Republican lawmakers have written to both the SBA and U.S. Attorney General William Barr to demand an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s receipt of PPP funds.