Chaffetz Grills Planned Parenthood Chief

At a combative congressional hearing Tuesday, House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz wonders why Planned Parenthood deserves federal funding when it apparently has excess money to spend on political activities, travel expenses, and lavish salaries.

Reports Politico:

In Tuesday’s hearing, Republicans tried to portray federal support of Planned Parenthood as wasteful. Chaffetz said the federal government doesn’t spend enough on fighting cancer and chastised Planned Parenthood for a reduction in the number of cancer screenings and breast exams it’s provided since 2005 — a decline that Planned Parenthood attributes to changes in federal preventive care recommendations that call for less frequent screenings.

Chaffetz also criticized the organization for giving money to its political affiliates, for spending about $5 million on travel expenses and for Richards’ salary, which she said is about $520,000.

Richards defended the organization’s federal support, pointing out that federal funds are not spent on abortion except in rare circumstances allowed by law. She also strongly rejected accusations that her organization illegally profits from fetal tissue and organ donation, as alleged by the undercover videos.

“The latest smear campaign is based on efforts by our opponents to entrap our doctors and clinicians into breaking the law — and once again our opponents failed,” Richards said. “Planned Parenthood policies not only comply with, but indeed go beyond the requirements of the law. The outrageous accusations leveled against Planned Parenthood, based on heavily doctored videos, are offensive and categorically untrue.”

Democrats lined up quickly to defend Planned Parenthood. The closest any Democrat came to criticizing the organization was Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands), who questioned Richards about why the organization doesn’t have clinics in the Virgin Islands.

And Democrats took issue with the Republicans’ aggressive line of questioning.