Trump Admin. COVID-19 used to intimidate family planning: Democrats

House Democrats are investigating whether the Trump administration abused a small business loan program to intimidate and lie to Planned Parenthood while rewarding supporters of the White House and the Republican Party.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.) and Rep. Nydia Velázquez (DN.Y.), respective chairs of the Supervision and Reform and Small Business committees, announced the investigation in a press release on Thursday.

The investigation is in the style of a document lawsuit that the two New York City-based Democrats argue suggests that the Small Business Administration (SBA) attempted to “target local Planned Parenthood organizations” for their involvement. in the $ 659 billion paycheck protection program)

According to Maloney and Velázquez, several local Planned Parenthood affiliates were told they did not have to apply, apparently in contradiction with the law.

“In May, the SBA sent letters to numerous local Planned Parenthood organizations inaccurately informing them that they were not eligible for loans under the program because of their association with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America,” said a letter released Thursday detailing the lawsuits. of the document.

“Pointing health care providers with safety nets in the midst of a pandemic puts vulnerable populations even more at risk and contradicts the bipartisan spirit behind the creation of the PPP,” the letter continues.

The announcement also suggests that the Trump administration was using the massive tranche of public funds to punish ideological opponents and reward ideological allies, while alerting the friendly media of the alleged harassment to, presumably, increase support. base for the Republican Party.

“We are concerned that the SBA’s actions were part of a coordinated effort to use the Coronavirus pandemic to attack Planned Parenthood health centers for ideological reasons,” the letter continues. “Conservative media began reporting on the SBA letters even before they were received by Planned Parenthood beneficiaries, raising questions about whether the letters were intentionally released to the press.”

Democratic committee chairs argue that the data available to the public, at least so far, claims their charges of ideological favoritism.

Again, the letter:

[A] The partial list of PPP beneficiaries released by the SBA and the Treasury Department on July 6 reveals that numerous 501 (c) (3) organizations with similar membership structures to Planned Parenthood health centers received PPP loans. The SBA also appears to have made PPP loans to ideologically driven advocacy organizations, such as the American Family Association and the American Center for Law and Justice, and a number of crisis crisis centers for pregnancies, which do not offer the same comprehensive range of health care. reproductive. services. To date, there have been no reports that the SBA has informed these organizations of their ineligibility to participate in the PPP, questioning whether the program is administered without ideological bias.

Representatives request six categories of documents, including a list of lenders who were advised or ordered to withhold PPP loans for nonprofits, as well as copies of “each letter that the SBA sent to a 501 organization (c ) (3) Nonprofit in receiving PPP loans to inform them of an ongoing investigation of their eligibility or a preliminary finding of ineligibility for PPP financing. “

The letter requests compliance by August 6.

[image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images]

Do you have a tip that we should know? [email protected]