The FBI’s assistant director of the Office of Congressional Affairs has sent a letter to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, informing him the agency is in receipt of the committee’s criminal referrals of Planned Parenthood and its partners in the fetal tissue procurement industry.
“We can confirm the Criminal Investigative Division (CID) of FBI Headquarters received your referrals and sent them to the relevant FBI field offices for review and whatever action is deemed appropriate,” the FBI’s Gregory Brower writes to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
The letter, dated June 19, 2017, was never publicized by the Judiciary Committee and is located in the correspondence section of its website:
In his correspondence, Brower apologizes to Grassley “for the delay in responding to your inquiry” and indicates receipt of the chairman’s letter, dated April 24, to both former FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions “concerning criminal referrals you made on December 13, 2016, to the FBI and Department of Justice.”
“These referrals were accompanied by a Majority Staff Report to the Committee, Human Fetal Tissue Research: Context and Controversy, which detailed allegations of paid fetal tissue transfers and criminal conspiracy made against eight organizations,” Brower continues.
An appointee of Comey, Brower was named to his post in March and has served with the agency since 2016. He previously served as deputy general counsel in the Office of the General Counsel.
Breitbart News contacted the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman’s office to inquire about whether the FBI had contacted Grassley for further information.
“The letter you linked to below is the latest we have on this matter,” responded Taylor Foy, the chairman’s press secretary. “I refer you to the FBI for information on any investigation.”
Breitbart News then contacted the FBI’s National Press Office and the Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento FBI field offices.
The agency’s National Press Office sent the following statement in response, “We don’t have anything to add to the letter sent to a member of Congress. In keeping with our usual practice we have no comment on whether or not we’re conducting a particular investigation.”
Gina Swankie, Public Affairs specialist with the FBI Sacramento field office, replied, “The FBI generally does not confirm or deny investigations and I strongly recommend reaching out to the FBI National Press Office with questions regarding statements allegedly made by the FBI Office of Congressional Affairs.”
Davene Butler, media coordinator for the FBI’s San Diego field office, responded, “Thank you for your inquiry. I understand you have reached out to the National Press Office as well. A representative from our National Press Office will get back to you regarding this inquiry.”
The Los Angeles field office did not respond to Breitbart News’s inquiry individually.
The Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives both conducted expansive investigations into Planned Parenthood and its partners in the biomedical procurement industry. The investigations concerned allegations of profiteering from the sale of fetal tissue that arose from an undercover video series exposé by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).
The sale or purchase of human fetal tissue is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison or a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2).
The Senate Judiciary Committee referred Planned Parenthood to both the FBI and the Justice Department for investigation and possible criminal prosecution.
Grassley wrote to Sessions and Comey in April:
I am writing to inquire about the actions the Department of Justice and the FBI have taken in response to criminal referrals I made late last year. After a lengthy and detailed investigation by the Committee into paid fetal tissue transfers, I wrote to Attorney General Lynch and Director Comey on December 13, 2017, to refer eight organizations for investigation and potential prosecution for violations of the law that bans the buying or selling of human fetal tissue, 42 U.S.C. § 289g-2, and the criminal conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371. The organizations referred were:
- The Planned Parenthood Federation of America;
- Planned Parenthood Mar Monte;
- Planned Parenthood Los Angeles;
- Planned Parenthood Northern California;
- Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest;
- StemExpress, LLC;
- Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc.; and
- Novogenix Laboratories, LLC.
Grassley concluded his letter by asking Sessions and Comey for “written confirmation by May 8, 2017, that the relevant Justice Department and FBI personnel have reviewed or will review the referral and report in full in order.”
Based on its findings, the Judiciary Committee’s Majority Staff Report concluded that Planned Parenthood’s partners in the biomedical procurement industry paid the abortion chain’s affiliates for the body parts of aborted babies “and then sold the fetal tissue to their respective customers at substantially higher prices than their documented costs.”
The report continued:
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) initially had a policy in place to ensure its affiliates were complying with the law, but the affiliates failed to follow its fetal tissue reimbursement policy. When PPFA learned in 2011 of this situation, PPFA cancelled the policy rather than exercise oversight to bring the affiliates back into compliance. Thus, PPFA not only turned a blind eye to the affiliates’ violations of its fetal tissue policy, but also altered its own oversight procedures enabling those affiliates’ practices to continue unimpeded.
Breitbart News inquired of the Justice Department in July about whether the DOJ had initiated an investigation into Planned Parenthood and its partners.
“The Department of Justice does not confirm, or otherwise comment, on the existence or nonexistence of investigations,” Lauren Ehrsam, DOJ spokeswoman and media affairs specialist, wrote in an email to Breitbart News in response.
Ehrsam did confirm, however, that, following House Select Panel chairwoman Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s letter of November 2 to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch – in which Blackburn laid out the evidence from the panel for “a thorough investigation” into biomedical procurement company StemExpress – the chairwoman received a response.
On December 15, Peter Kadzik, former assistant U.S. attorney general under Lynch, wrote, “We have referred your letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for consideration and appropriate action.”
In June, a letter signed by 17 pro-life leaders urged Sessions and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe to investigate Planned Parenthood based on the criminal referrals the Senate Judiciary Committee made.
David Daleiden – the video journalist who conducted the undercover video exposé – tells Breitbart News, “Two short years ago, Planned Parenthood’s senior-level leadership were caught on camera flippantly negotiating prices and criminal abortion methods to sell aborted baby hearts, lungs, livers, and brains. After over a year of comprehensive, nationwide investigation, two congressional committees uncovered tens of thousands of pages of documents showing system-wide criminality in Planned Parenthood’s scheme to sell baby body parts from intact aborted children.”
Consequently, the referrals concern “an atrocity against humanity that deserves the full attention of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice,” Daleiden concludes.