Saturday, May 30, 2020

Investigations into Improper PPP Funding for Planned Parenthood Urged by Lawmakers

Pierre, SD - May 30, 2020 - (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) joined a number of his colleagues in two different letters urging full investigations into improper Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding for Planned Parenthood. The first letter, led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), was sent to Attorney General Bill Barr to urge the Department of Justice to investigate whether dozens of Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country applied for and received PPP loans despite knowing they were ineligible to apply.

A second letter, led by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), was sent to Jovita Carranza, Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), urging her to conduct a full investigation into how 37 Planned Parenthood affiliates applied for and improperly received a total of $80 million in loans from the PPP.

Under the statutory text of the CARES Act, organizations like these affiliates were expressly prohibited from receiving PPP funds. Additionally, the Small Business Administration confirmed last month 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.

Excerpt of the letter to the DOJ: “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. It was not designed to give government funds to politicized, partisan abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. The funds in the program are not unlimited, and were depleted once already because of high demand. 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,” wrote the senators.

Excerpt of the letter to the SBA: “It has come to our attention that affiliates of Planned Parenthood improperly applied for, and received loans, through the program. 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,” the senators wrote. “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.”

Two COVID-19 Cases Filed Against People’s Republic of China (PRC)

New York, NY - May 05, 2020 - (The Ponder News) -- During this time of uncertainty, as the coronavirus continues to upend lives and businesses, the need for the rational and consistent application of the Rule of Law has never been more urgent. Legal Language Services’ (LLS) senior consultant, Tom McLean, Esq. and LLS’s president, Victor Hertz, reviewed two recently-filed lawsuits related to the pandemic, brought against the People’s Republic of China (PRC). These suits are representative of several similar cases, including those brought by the Missouri and Mississippi Attorneys General.

The Two Cases

Both suits against the PRC were brought under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and, according to McLean, “appear to suffer from weak causation, scapegoating China for the pandemic.” Similar cases, such as the complaint brought by Liang Xuguang against the US Federal Government (among others), have also been filed in the PRC. LLS’s blog post – Panic, Pandemic, and the Rule of Law – examines the causation, decisions and validity of these two lawsuits.

Case 1, Alters v People’s Republic of China, is a class action asserting that the PRC acted in its own best interest to maintain its "Superpower status" and negligently failed to contain the COVID-19 virus in Wuhan. [1]

Case 2, Buzz Photos v People’s Republic of China, is an attempt by a business to recover damages arising from COVID-19-related lost sales and layoffs. [2]

Do These Cases Deserve Their Day in Court?

LLS believes everyone deserves their day in court. “Perhaps the attorneys who filed these cases know more than they let on in their complaints. If so, these cases have merit and should be heard even if President Xi and the PRC government disagree,” said McLean. He adds, “If these cases are weak and have been filed for publicity, rather than a true hope of recovering money, then they do a disservice to the United States and its judicial system. If the US judicial system works as it should, then the litigants in these cases will not prevail.”

Hertz points out that “similar litigation was filed after the 9/11 attacks, seeking damages from Saudi Arabia. Those cases were dismissed by the Supreme Court.” [3]

"It is essential that the legal profession uphold the Rule of Law when society is stressed and people feel at risk,” Hertz reiterates. “Ultimately, good litigation will produce good precedents and these cases against China will rise or fall on their own merits.”

[1] 1:20-cv-21108 (SD FLA 2020)
[2] 3:20-cv-00656 (ND TX 2020)
[3] Supreme Court decision No. 08-640 in the matter of Federal Insurance Co., et al. v. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, et al.

About Legal Language Services

Since 1983, Legal Language Services has helped US law firms, sole practitioners and governments communicate across linguistic and political boundaries. LLS is the premier source of legal translation in the United States. They also provide the interpreting backbone for 911 calls. Having been through fires, floods, hurricanes, recessions, stock market crashes and the aftermath of 9/11, they have the experience and the expertise to get through the COVID-19 crisis.

Additionally, LLS offers:

· Secure HIPAA-compliant 24/7 telephonic interpreting service in more than 200 languages and dialects.

· Interpreting services are available on demand via a secure HIPAA-compliant video-remote platform, available in twenty languages, including American Sign Language (ASL).

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