Pro-Life Group: Planned Parenthood Can’t Account for Tax Money

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 6, 2011   |   11:48AM   |   Washington, DC

A pro-life group is defending its allegations that the Planned Parenthood abortion business can’t account for as much as $1.3 billion of the approximately $363 million it gets from the federal government on an annual basis.

In June 2010, Rita Diller of the group STOPP International wrote an opinion column in the Washington Times making the allegations. She said her reading of a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the money pro-abortion groups receive from the federal government raised more questions than answers.

“Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s (PPFA) audits show the organization spent just $657.1 million between 2002 and 2008 from federal government grants and programs, but the abortion behemoth’s own annual reports show that it took in $2.3 billion from government grants and programs during the same time period,’ Diller wrote. “That’s not pocket change. Why the discrepancy?”

“Has Planned Parenthood managed to tuck away megamillions of our tax dollars, seemingly unnoticed? Or is that much of its government funding coming from sources other than the federal government? Or is there a problem with the way Planned Parenthood is reporting its expenditure of our federal monies?” Diller asked. “Yes, Planned Parenthood has other sources of government funding – state and local – but historical data indicate it is simply not believable that such a large amount of its funding is from local and state sources.”

Although GAO indicated Planned Parenthood received an average of 72 percent of its government income from the federal government, Planned Parenthood’s figures show federal funds comprising just 32 percent of its total income from government sources.

On March 25, the Politifact web site investigated the claims in Diller’s article and claimed they are false.

The web site says the GAO figure of Planned Parenthood spending $657.1 million in federal funds between 2002 and 2009 is likely accurate but added, “there was no statement nor any evidence anywhere in the GAO report that Planned Parenthood received $2.02 billion or that any money was missing.”

On the figured showing Planned Parenthood received $2.3 billion from government grants, Politifact wrote, “We compared the information from Diller’s site with Planned Parenthood’s actual annual reports and found the numbers appeared to be in order.”

But the web site, run by the St. Petersburg, Florida newspaper that is not known to the friendly to pro-life advocates, concluded Diller was wrong.

“The GAO never reported that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates couldn’t find $1.3 billion. It simply said that Planned Parenthood spent $657.1 million. The GAO also didn’t say that there was any sort of discrepancy or that money was missing,” it said. “In fact the statement conflates two different sets of numbers and is an extreme case of comparing apples to oranges, taking one number calculated by the GAO, and another calculated by adding numbers published in Planned Parenthood’s annual reports. The difference is what is claimed to be missing.”

“Planned Parenthood includes all federal, state and local money under the category “government grants and contracts” in its annual reports. The GAO only looked at direct federal funding and noted it was likely undercounting the amount Planned Parenthood receives,” it concluded.

Diller responded today to that Politifact article with another opinion column in the Washington Times.

She said Politifact “was apparently claiming that because the GAO intervened to compile the numbers that Planned Parenthood furnished through its own reports, Planned Parenthood figures were no longer being compared to Planned Parenthood figures. Really?”

“In the report, Politifact asked Planned Parenthood spokesman Tait Sye to help explain the billion-plus dollar mystery. Every point Mr. Sye and Politifact made underscored the inability of the GAO to fully report the abortion giant’s federal income based on the information it had from Planned Parenthood,” Diller added. “They discuss how the GAO report counted only direct federal funding to Planned Parenthood and that the GAO report does not appear to include income from federal and state partnerships like Medicaid. For good measure, Mr. Sye also says that Planned Parenthood has more than 80 affiliates, but the GAO only counted federal money going to 21 affiliates.”

Diller continued:

This is precisely the reason we did not rely on the GAO report for Planned Parenthood’s income figures, but went instead to Planned Parenthood’s annual reports.

However, with regard to Planned Parenthood’s expenditure of federal funds, the GAO relied on Single Audit Act reports from 85 Planned Parenthood affiliates. This includes every affiliate that met the $500,000 expenditure Single Audit Act threshold.

Indeed, as Politifact says, Planned Parenthood’s annual reports include state and local government funding, not just federal. However, for the ratio of reported expenditures of federal funds to drop abruptly from 72 percent to 32 percent of its total government income from one GAO report to the next as it did, the organization’s overall government income would have had to explode by 225 percent while federal income and offsetting expenditures remained exactly the same.

Yet the states’ share of Medicaid costs remained stable at 42-43 percent from 1997 through 2008 and Title X funding increased every year.

If Planned Parenthood maintains that its federal income versus federal expenditures are in balance, then only a huge increase in some other government income could explain this change.

Politifact’s attempted exoneration of Planned Parenthood hinges upon convincing readers that no one knows how much federal income the abortion giant received.

If the Government Accountability Office doesn’t know how much federal money Planned Parenthood has been given, how in the world can the taxpayers know? If Planned Parenthood is not held accountable to 32 members of Congress requesting information from the GAO about its income and expenditure of federal funds, how can we taxpayers ever hope to know to what extent Planned Parenthood is fleecing us? Is Planned Parenthood really going to be allowed to ingest almost $1 million of taxpayer money every day (according to its annual report) and not be held accountable for how it spends it, then justify its lack of accountability by saying the Government Accountability Office doesn’t know how much federal money the abortion giant received?

It is time to strip all government funding from the nation’s largest abortion chain now.