Dems call for DOJ probe of group behind Planned Parenthood videos

Dems call for DOJ probe of group behind Planned Parenthood videos

Several House Democrats are calling for a federal investigation into the anti-abortion group targeting Planned Parenthood with dozens of hours of hidden camera footage.

A group of Democrats, led by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), sent a letter Wednesday to the Department of Justice arguing the undercover videos from The Center for Medical Progress may have broken federal and state laws.   

The Center for Medical Progress, which is going after Planned Parenthood because of its abortion services, created a fake company to gain access to its facilities and meetings with its high-level officials.

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Staffers for the California-based pro-life group posed as buyers for a medical research firm to ask Planned Parenthood about fetal tissue donations – a tactic that the lawmakers say could be illegal.    

“This elaborate scheme raises serious questions about whether any federal or state laws were violated in securing the LLC or the personal identification that were part of its execution,” the Democrats wrote to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The members also raised questions about “possible coordination between the Center for Medical Progress and members of Congress who knew about the first video weeks in advance of its release.”

Several House Republicans, including Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksConservatives fear end-of-year ‘Christmas tree’ spending bill Adoption tax credit restored after conservative backlash The Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on tax-reform bill MORE (R-Ariz.) and Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) have said they saw the video weeks before it was made public.

Additionally, the Democrats said the secretly recorded video may be illegal under California law, as it was filmed without the consent of the Planned Parenthood doctor.

The letter was also signed by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.).

House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerTrump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery One year later, neither party can get past last year's election MORE (R-Ohio) ordered investigations into Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue program last week, after the first video was released.

Since then, dozens more Republicans on the federal and state level have called for investigations.

David Daleiden, executive director of Center for Medical Progress, accused the Democrats of trying to distract from the videos.

"They will attack me and my organization all day long, but that does not change the facts about what our investigation has uncovered and what the American people now know — that Planned Parenthood is engaged in an enterprise-wide operation that traffics and sells baby body parts," he wrote in a statement. 

- This post was updated at 4:30 p.m.