Republicans in the House seek to nearly double the budget of the dangerous Select Investigate Panel that has been spending taxpayer dollars investigating bogus allegations made by the so-called Center for Medical Progress (CMP) against abortion providers and fetal tissue researchers, according to an exclusive article release from Rewire News.

The Republican controlled Panel created by the House Energy and Commerce Committee hopes to increase their budget from $790,000 to $1.59 million in pursuit of continuing their investigation on the dispelled allegations that Planned Parenthood sold fetal tissue for profit.

The House Administration Committee is set to discuss the budget increase of $800,000 today at 5 p.m.

The Panel was established in November 2015, a few months after CMP released the surreptitiously filmed, deceptively edited videos. Since the release of the videos, several House committees as well as twelve state investigations have found that Planned Parenthood committed no wrongdoing.

Many Democrats consider the Panel to be engaged in a “McCarthyesque witch hunt.” In September, Ranking Member Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky delivered a speech on the floor of the House denouncing the Panel.

“Over the past year, Select Panel Republicans have abused congressional authority to harass, intimidate, and bully doctors and researchers—with the ultimate goal of driving companies away from fetal tissue work and ending life-saving research,” Schakowsky said. She continued, “This has gone on long enough. We are elected officials. It is our opportunity and responsibility to make things better for the people we serve. That privilege—and the power that accompanies it—should not be abused. The Panel should be brought to an immediate end.”

Last month, a federal judge in California refused to dismiss a federal racketeering lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood against CMP. The lawsuit, comprising 15 claims, alleges that in 2012 David Daldien and his associates, including Operation Rescue leader Troy Newman, violated a number of state and federal laws including the RICO Act and the Federal Wiretap Act in an attempt to infiltrate the medical research and reproductive healthcare community. They lied their way into conferences, used fake government identifications to gain access to Planned Parenthood facilities and events, and signed confidentiality agreements they did not intend to uphold.

The Feminist Majority Foundation has been calling on the Panel to either redirect its focus to violence against abortion providers or disband. Take action here.

Media Resources: Rewire News 11/15/16; The Energy and Commerce Committee; Committee on House Administration 11/15/16; Feminist Majority Foundation 9/27/16, 10/4/16.

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