Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is calling on Attorney General William Barr to “immediately review” Planned Parenthood affiliates’ acquisition of federal funds through the Payroll Protection Program (PPP).
As chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Rubio led 33 of his Senate colleagues and 94 members of the U.S. House in requesting the Small Business Administration (SBA) conduct a full investigation into how affiliates of the abortion provider applied for and actually received $80 million in coronavirus relief loans.
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On Monday, SBA released PPP loan data on program recipients who received at least $150,000. As NBC News reported, according to SBA, at least 43 Planned Parenthood affiliates received funds that totaled between $65 million and $150 million.
In a letter to Barr Tuesday, Rubio wrote he is requesting the attorney general’s “immediate attention to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s facially unlawful participation” in the PPP.
Rubio explained only small businesses with 500 or fewer employees were eligible for funds through the program.
“Planned Parenthood’s aggregate employee size is about 16,000 employees nationwide,” the senator continued, adding that although Planned Parenthood’s affiliates are incorporated separately, the national organization refers to its affiliates as “local offices.”
“Planned Parenthood’s bylaws describe an affiliate structure in which its management can uniformly and unilaterally impose policies and practices on its affiliates,” Rubio observed.
He noted SBA wrote to the involved Planned Parenthood affiliates in May, requesting the return of the funds after determining they were ineligible under the affiliation and employee size rules. The senator further pointed out SBA informed Planned Parenthood it could be referred for “appropriate civil or criminal penalties.”
“This latest disclosure once again raises concerns that these affiliates are unlawfully participating in the program,” Rubio wrote after the SBA loan data were disclosed. “I urge you to immediately review these loans to ensure the law is being followed and enforced.”
Planned Parenthood applied for and received the federal loans despite touting its decision last year to opt out of the federal family planning grant program (Title X) after the Trump administration enforced a rule that makes a clear distinction between abortion and birth control.