Senators Demand Answers From Biden Small Business Administration for Letting Planned Parenthood Obtain COVID Relief Funds After Findings From ACLJ FOIA

By 

Jordan Sekulow

|
May 9

8 min read

Pro Life

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Just when you thought abortion giant Planned Parenthood could sink no lower in its depravity, it finds a way to shock us all again. It receives over half-a-billion dollars in taxpayer funding every year, including money from the Title X grant program even though the language of the program specifically denies abortionists from accessing the funds. They abort over 300,000 innocent babies each year. But during the pandemic, as hardworking Americans were struggling to keep food on the table, Planned Parenthood and its affiliates swooped in and scooped up millions in COVID-19 relief funds they were not supposed to receive.

Thankfully, Senator James Lankford (OK), along with other pro-life Senators, has now taken action to demand transparency from Planned Parenthood and determine if it did willfully circumvent the law to obtain relief money and if so, hold it accountable.

Back in 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, which included hundreds of billions of dollars for small businesses in the form of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and aid to help keep American workers and businesses afloat during the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This relief package specifically included language designating those funds for small businesses with less than 500 employees. That language immediately disqualified abortion giant Planned Parenthood and its more than 16,000 employees, FAR from being a small business, from getting its claws on a single penny of those small business loans.

Yet as we told you before, somehow, at least 37 of Planned Parenthood’s 49 affiliates obtained a total of approximately $80 million from PPP taxpayer funds that were meant to go to small businesses.

We submitted a FOIA request to the Small Business Administration (SBA), to determine whether Planned Parenthood fraudulently obtained these funds through the SBA – funds it had no lawful right to – and to find out how this contravention of Congress’ limitations in the CARES Act occurred.

Now Sen. James Lankford along with Sen. Rand Paul and other members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) have sent a letter to the Biden-appointed administrator of the Small Business Administration, Isabella Casillas Guzman, demanding information explaining how Planned Parenthood was able to illegally obtain PPP loans it had no right to receive.

Their letter states:

On May 19, 2020, SBA notified a number of Planned Parenthood affiliates that they had wrongfully applied for 38 PPP loans totaling more than $80 million. SBA determined that these local affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America were ineligible for PPP loans under the applicable affiliation rules and size standards, and that the loans they received should be returned,” the Senators wrote. “Despite this determination, the SBA approved 17 new PPP loans to Planned Parenthood affiliates totaling nearly $40 million in 2021. Moreover, under your leadership, the SBA has forgiven at least 34 Planned Parenthood PPP loans to date. This raises serious questions about the SBA' s management of the PPP program which was intended to provide relief to small businesses. In order to better assist Congress in performing its oversight function, please provide the information requested in this letter no later than 5:00PM on May 10, 2022.

The ACLJ previously provided Sen. Lankford, as well as the general public, with the findings of our own FOIA regarding the matter, and we applaud this action to expose Planned Parenthood.

First, we alerted the Senate to the existence of 38 letters to what we believe to be Planned Parenthood that are referenced above because we were able to learn about them through our FOIA. While the SBA specifically told us it would NOT turn over the letters to us due to specific FOIA exemptions, there are no such exceptions to withholding information from the Senate. Thankfully, we were able to provide this information to help point the Senate in the direction to look.

However, the documents and information we were able to obtain through our FOIA were concerning enough:

The SBA’s response letter and the documents we did receive allow us to draw several conclusions. First, the number of letters, 38 (“38 letters … sent to certain pregnancy resource centers”) cited in the response letter is suspiciously close to the 37 Planned Parenthood affiliates mentioned in the press reports. And it’s important to note that our FOIA request was specifically for records regarding Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. Second, we know that Planned Parenthood affiliates did, in fact, apply for PPP funds. The emails obtained are the best evidence, even if you have to read between the lines, so to speak.

In one email we obtained, dated May 18, 2020, it is clear someone applied for a loan (and remember we only asked about Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers) and is asking for reconsideration:

From: Redacted
To: Redacted
Sent: Monday, May 18, 2020 11:45 AM

Please let me know what other documentation, if any, you need for reconsideration of our loan.
Thank you for your attention to this request.

Redacted , MA, JD
She/Her/Hers
President & CEO

However, the next email in the same chain confirms what we suspected:

From: [REDACTED]@SunTrust.com
Sent: Monday, May 18, 2020 9:04 AM
To: 7a Questions <7aQuesti@sba.gov>
Subject: FW: PPP Loan

“Is Planned Parenthood Eligible for PPP program? I have seen conflicting views, and need this settled.
Thank you.”

Any doubts about Planned Parenthood’s application for PPP funds is removed by this email from PPNNE [Planned Parenthood of Northern New England]:

From: [REDACTED]@ppnne.org>
Sent: Thursday, May 21, 2020 7:25 PM
To: [REDACTED]@peoples.com>
Subject: PPP funds in new account
WARNING: External E-mail. Use caution if opening Links and Attachments.
Thanks!
Jennifer Meyer, CPA (she/her/hers)
Director of Finance
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

These emails are not the only such email chain. An email’s subject line from “7a Questions” (the SBA help center for PPP applicants and banks) provides further evidence that Planned Parenthood affiliates applied for loans and were approved.

From: 7a Questions
To: Wileman, Linda
Subject: RE: Planned Parenthood Loan # -
Date: Wednesday, May 13, 2020 12:11:56 PM

[REDACTED]

If you need anything else, feel free to contact us again.
For loan submission instructions and additional information, please visit our LGPC webpage here. For the current SOP 50 10 5(K), please click here. If you need assistance with SBAOne, please contact SBAOne staff at: sba.one@bnymellon.com or (877) 245-6159 (call option 5).
Please note that any opinions expressed on loan eligibility in this email are being given limited to the information you have provided and could change if new information is contained in your loan submission package.
“For information on Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19), please CLICK HERE or
contact the SBA Disaster Assistance Division at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.”
Thank you,
7a Questions
7(a) Loan Guaranty Processing Center
U.S. Small Business Administration
(877) 475-2435 (toll free)
7aQuestions@sba.gov
ak@7aQ

The subject line of a subsequent email chain from May 20, 2020, starting at 9:02 AM, shows that loans were actually given, even if eventually returned:

From: [SBA official]
To: Billimoria, Jimmy F. (Jim)
Cc: Kelly, Jennifer F.
Subject: RE: Deliberative and pre-decisional- Re: Vice PP returning PPP
Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 9:02:20 AM

Another email indicates a request to cancel two loans, but the SBA redacted who the loan recipients were:

To: Kucharski, Stephen W. <Stephen.Kucharski@sba.gov>; Zheng, Mike (Contractor) <Mike.Zheng@sba.gov>; McConville, Sheri M. <Sheri.Mcconville@sba.gov>
Subject: Please Cancel these two loans
Mike/Sheri --- .
Thanks

We also learned from these records that Deep State SBA bureaucrats refused to do their job and follow the clear wording of the law by making a decision on Planned Parenthood affiliates’ eligibility. The SBA advice desk sent out this letter to a question from SunTrust:

From: 7a Questions <7aQuesti@sba.gov>
Sent: Monday, May 18, 2020 5:11 PM
To: [REDACTED]@SunTrust.com
Subject: RE: PPP Loan

SBA cannot make a final determination on eligibility as these decisions are the responsibility of the applicant and the lender.
Based on the discussion below it appears the Applicant meets 501 (c) (3) criteria and if other eligibility criteria is met then the submission may be eligible.
For additional information on this question and other questions, please consult the Treasury's website is at https://home.treasury.gov/policyissues/cares/assistance-for-small-businesses, and SBA’s website is at Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources”

This is particularly concerning in light of the fact that we obtained numerous communications from MAJOR financial institutions – including Sun Trust now Truist, Peoples, Seacoast Bank, BB&T now Truist, Zions Bancorporation, BOK Financial, and others – indicating that these banks were concerned about following the law and had received dubious Planned Parenthood applications.

The fact that, after all the media coverage and the careful wording of the law itself, SBA bureaucrats were actually responding that they would provide no help in following the law and that “SBA cannot make a final determination on eligibility” because this is the “responsibility of the applicant and the lender” is beyond disconcerting. It shows just how far the bureaucracy will go to protect the abortion industry even when the law is clear – turning a blind eye and refusing to help banks follow the law when they seek advice.

A copy of the entire set of records the ACLJ obtained from the SBA is available here at this link: SBA Records.

These are merely a few of the records that our FOIA has uncovered, showing that Planned Parenthood did apply for PPP funds, did get approval, and at least in some cases, actually returned the funds. At least a few affiliates of the company making millions from aborting hundreds of thousands of defenseless unborn babies had a crisis of conscience . . . when it realized it might have broken the law . . . and left a paper trail.

By circumventing the language of the program, it certainly appears Planned Parenthood, or at least its affiliates, knowingly and willfully violated the law, defrauding American taxpayers to get its hands on this money it knew it wasn’t qualified to receive. If it turns out that is indeed what happened, we demand a full investigation, including the names of any complicit bureaucratic agents. After all, as the Senators’ letter states:

[T]he SBA approved 17 new PPP loans to Planned Parenthood affiliates totaling nearly $40 million in 2021. Moreover, under your leadership, the SBA has forgiven at least 34 Planned Parenthood PPP loans to date.

This raises serious questions about the SBA’s management of the PPP program which was intended to provide relief to small businesses.

The bottom line is, if unlawful actions were taken or if there was fraud, those responsible, from Planned Parenthood to our own government officials, have to answer for their actions. We will not let this go. The American people deserve to know the truth. If Planned Parenthood knowingly broke the law to take money from desperate citizens, they must be exposed and held accountable.

The other Senators on the letter were Tim Scott (SC), Ron Johnson (WI), Josh Hawley (MO), and Mitt Romney (UT). We will continue to follow this issue, and will be ready to take further legal action as the opportunity arises.