Miss. Senator Critical of Ineligible Abortion Provider Receiving CARES Act Money Meant for Small Businesses

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today said she supports growing calls for federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, to investigate whether more than three dozen ineligible Planned Parenthood affiliates received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans fraudulently.

Hyde-Smith has signed two letters calling on the Justice Department and Small Business Administration (SBA) to investigate activities of Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country that applied for and received approximately $80 million in PPP loans despite being ineligible for the COVID-19 relief.

“The law is clear that abortion providers like Planned Parenthood are ineligible for the Paycheck Protection Program loans.  Investigations are justified to determine whether there were fraudulent actions taken to access these federal taxpayer dollars.  Efforts should also be taken to recoup any PPP money received by Planned Parenthood,” said Hyde-Smith, who is a member of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus.

The statuary text of the CARES Act expressly prohibits organizations like Planned Parenthood affiliates from receiving PPP funds.  Additionally, the SBA confirmed in April that its standing affiliation rules apply to the new PPP, which excludes organizations like Planned Parenthood that employ its type of governance and affiliation structure and exceed the cap on total employees.

In the letter led by U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) to Attorney General William Barr, Hyde-Smith joined almost 30 Senators in stating:

“The Paycheck Protection Program established by the CARES Act was designed by Congress to help struggling small businesses and nonprofit organizations by giving them access to low-cost loans for expenses like keeping their employees on payroll during this pandemic…  Planned Parenthood fraudulently taking tens of millions of dollars that were intended to help keep those small businesses and nonprofit organizations afloat cannot stand and must be addressed.” 

Hyde-Smith is also among 34 Senators and 94 Members of the House of Representatives who signed a letter asking SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza to conduct a full investigation of Planned Parenthood and PPP payments received by its affiliates.  The lawmakers, led by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote:

“While we appreciate the Small Business Administration’s (“SBA”) efforts to promptly cancel those loans, the circumstances under which they were made merit further investigation of possible wrongdoing…  These circumstances require a full investigation in order to determine whether there was wrongdoing, and we urge that any such misconduct be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We urge that the SBA promptly open an investigation into how these loans were made in clear violation of the applicable affiliation rules and if Planned Parenthood, relevant lenders, or staff at the SBA knowingly violated the law, and that appropriate legal action be taken if so.”