Planned Parenthood affiliates around the country received a grand total of more than $80 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and now, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is saying that they weren't eligible for the money in the first place and they want the money back, CBS News reported on Friday. The PPP is a loan program for small businesses that was established in early April as part of one of the earliest coronavirus relief packages passed by Congress. The program is administered by the SBA, which is responsible for choosing how to distribute the funds allocated by the federal government.
The goal of the Paycheck Protection Program was to ensure that small businesses could continue to pay employees while their businesses were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. The first round of funding ran quickly, in part because larger businesses applied for the loans that were intended for small businesses. Congress passed the second round of funding for the PPP in late April.
Several Planned Parenthood affiliates around the country applied for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. According to CBS News, Planned Parenthood affiliates -- the actual clinics in each state -- claimed that they are run separately from the corporate branch, which would make individual affiliates eligible for funding from the loan program. Several affiliates across the country were approved for loans through the PPP and received the money they needed to keep the doors of their clinics open.
However, after reviewing the loans, the Small Business Administration has apparently decided that the Planned Parenthood affiliates weren't eligible after all, CBS reported. A Planned Parenthood affiliate in Delaware got a letter from the SBA this week stating that it had been determined that the affiliate was, in fact, run by Planned Parenthood corporate, thus making them ineligible for the loan. The letter asked them to return the money they'd received.Republican Senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, called out Planned Parenthood affiliates in a letter sent to Attorney General William Barr, saying that receiving money from the PPP essentially amounted to fraud, Fox News reported. The senators requested that Barr investigate the organization to see if they'd committed a crime in accepting the funds.
According to CBS News, Planned Parenthood responded to the accusation, calling it a partisan attack.
"This is a clear political attack on Planned Parenthood health centers and access to reproductive health care. It has nothing to do with Planned Parenthood health care organizations' eligibility for COVID-19 relief efforts, and everything to do with the Trump administration using a public health crisis to advance a political agenda."As of Friday morning, CBS News reported that it was unclear whether all affiliates that received loans from the PPP would be asked to return the money. So far, the affiliate in Delaware is the only one that has gotten a letter from the SBA. One executive at a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Florida told CBS that if her affiliate was asked to return the funds they received from the PPP she would refuse. She stated that the financial assistance she got from the PPP is the only reason her clinic is open and all of her staff are paid.