At least 4 members of Congress have benefited from small business aid loans: report
- At least four members of Congress have received loans under the PPP program first launched in April.
- No mandate forces the small group of Republicans and Democrats to disclose their identities, raising concerns about possible conflicts of interest as debate begins over a future economic stimulus package.
- It is not illegal for lawmakers to request or attempt to obtain P3 money.
- Treasury Secretary Mnuchin faces pressure to reveal more details about where the small business aid funds are going.
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At least four members of Congress have received loans under the $ 670 billion paycheck protection program – and no rules require them to disclose they have.
Politics first reported that a small group of Republicans and Democrats have close ties to companies known to have taken out loans under PPP, the small business assistance program. The businesses that have benefited from the loans are either run by the families of the legislators or employ spouses in managerial and sometimes managerial positions.
Those on the GOP side include Texas Rep. Roger Williams, a businessman who owns car dealerships and car washes, as well as Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler. His family owns farms and equipment suppliers throughout the Midwestern region.
Democrats who have accepted the PPP loans are Nevada Rep. Susie Lee, whose husband is the CEO of a casino developer, and Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of Florida, another lawmaker whose husband is a senior executive in a restaurant that repaid the PPP loan.
It is not illegal for lawmakers to request or receive federal bailout money. But it raises concerns about possible conflicts of interest as Congress begins to grapple with the contours of yet another economic stimulus package.
Spokesmen for the four lawmakers told Politico the help was obtained through established channels. William and Hartzler officials refused to disclose the amount of the loans to the point of sale. The two GOP lawmakers voted against a bill that would have required the Small Business Administration to identify companies that have made loans over $ 2 million.
Politico reported that Full House Resorts – the company run by Lee’s husband – has received $ 5.6 million in PPP assistance. And Fiesta Restaurant Group, the company where Mucarsel-Powell’s husband was a senior executive, received $ 15 million before opting for the return.
Democrats step up calls for more transparency from the Trump administration after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers there were no plans to reveal the identity of companies that have accepted PPP loans.
Mnuchin, however, said on Monday he would meet with lawmakers seeking clarity on the program, which was first launched in April. Some companies worry that the disclosure of a loan – which could be as high as $ 10 million – could reveal sensitive information about their business.
Until the end of May, the program distributed 4.5 million loans totaling $ 510 billion, by the SBA.
From the start, critics lambasted the PPP as reports of big and powerful companies had received loans while dozens of small businesses faced delays in obtaining federal assistance. Democrats and Republicans pledge to monitor the taxpayer-funded program.
“Among other steps, the administration is expected to release the names of all PPP borrowers,” leading House Democrats wrote in a letter to Mnuchin on Monday.