And you thought Ruth’s Chris Steak House had some explaining to do. “When you hear the phrase ‘small business’,” Tucker Carlson asked in last night’s Fox News Channel broadcast, “what comes to mind?” Almost certainly not the nation’s biggest abortion mill, Planned Parenthood, and yet 37 of its affiliates soaked up $80 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program. Worse yet, Carlson argues, nearly none of them closed for business in the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t keep them from getting cash from a program designed to keep pandemic-closure-impacted small businesses from going under.
The federal government now wants to impose an early termination to their cash impregnation. That’s something Planned Parenthood should support, right?
Thirty-seven Planned Parenthood affiliates applied for and received a total of $80 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” has learned — and now the federal government wants the money back, saying the affiliates should have known they weren’t eligible for the coronavirus stimulus payouts.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is reaching out to each involved Planned Parenthood affiliate explaining that affiliates of larger organizations with more than 500 employees aren’t eligible for PPP distributions, Fox News is told. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PFFA) alone has had more than 600 employees.
A Planned Parenthood affiliate in Metropolitan Washington (PPMW), for example, will receive a letter stating that although self-certified that it was eligible for a $1,328,000 PPP loan in accordance with the SBA’s affiliation rules, it will need to return the money.
PPMW’s request for money from the Trump administration came just months after the affiliate’s president and CEO, Laura Meyers, promised to turn down federal funds.
The Washington Examiner has more on this story, including calls from lawmakers demanding the return of the cash:
“There is no ambiguity in the legislation that passed or public record around its passage that organizations such as Planned Parenthood, whose parent organization has close to half a billion dollars in assets, is not eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program,” Rubio said in a statement.
“Those funds must be returned immediately,” he continued. “Furthermore, the SBA should open an investigation into how these loans were made in clear violation of the applicable affiliation rules and if Planned Parenthood, the banks, or staff at the SBA knowingly violated the law, all appropriate legal options should be pursued.”
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri said on Twitter following the report that the “money needs to be recovered and if anybody knowingly falsified applications, they need to be prosecuted.”
Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, also a Republican, said that “every dollar Planned Parenthood took from PPP was a dollar that did not get to legitimate small businesses.”
On one level, Congress created this problem themselves in their rush to get PPP approved. Lobbyists pushed hard to allow franchises to qualify as small businesses even when the overall corporations were undoubtedly large. That’s how Shake Shack, Ruth’s Chris, and hotel locations with names like Marriott, Hilton, and even Ritz Carlton got their hands on PPP cash too:
But after intensive lobbying by the restaurant and hotel industries during the weeks leading to the passage of the $2 trillion Cares Act stimulus package, Congress allowed separate subsidiaries and locations to apply as businesses, even if they were part of a national or international chain.
More than 80 publicly traded companies in an array of industries — including owners of large hotel chains, restaurant chains, energy firms and manufacturers — received PPP money, SEC records show. Some of the companies are worth hundreds of millions of dollars based on their share values, and many of them pay executives seven-figure compensation packages. Others have boosted their share prices in recent years through share buybacks and dividend payments.
Rubio insists that Planned Parenthood didn’t qualify as a franchise recipient, either (starts at 6:15):
“They just don’t qualify for it. There’s something called affiliation rules … In this particular case, in order to be a Planned Parenthood affiliate, you have to get approval of the parent board, the one that’s located here in Washington, D.C., a parent board that is sitting on — according to their own numbers, in 2018 — close to half a billion dollars in net assets …They just don’t qualify under the affiliate rules. It’s as simple as that. Leave aside all the other issues, they do not qualify. So they need to return the money and if they did this knowingly they need to be held accountable. And whoever helped them do this knowingly needs to be held accountable. That includes, potentially, people on staff at the SBA, the banks, and anybody else.”
Even if Planned Parenthood qualified under franchise rules, there is still another major problem. As Carlson points out, most of the rest of these businesses had to close, either fully or partially, in conjunction with the “flatten the curve” effort. Not only did Planned Parenthood locations stay open, they fought in court to be deemed “essential businesses” in the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their doors open, even though abortion procedures require the PPE the order to stop elective surgeries intended on conserving those resources. For the most part those affiliates won in court, too.
So for almost all of these locations, employee paychecks were never in danger at all. And yet Planned Parenthood sucked cash out of a program that aimed to protect the salaries of Americans whose income really was at risk. That’s unconscionable, and borderline fraudulent. That money should be produced immediately, and prosecution should follow if it is not. However, this is yet another object lesson in what happens when Congress rushes legislation through without adequate debate and oversight. Planned Parenthood may be a bloodsucking vulture, but Congress left the carcass out on the ground on which they feasted.