WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Congress debates the next major round of stimulus relief during the ongoing pandemic and deepening recession, government watchdog Accountable.US launched a new interactive resource — www.COVIDBailoutTracker.com — to help the public better understand how the previous effort, the CARES Act, prioritized bailouts for big businesses at the expense of tens of thousands of struggling small businesses and their workers.

Among the site’s features is a searchable database of companies in the airline industry that received bailouts under the U.S. Treasury Department’s “Payroll Support Program,” including a filter for those that double-dipped from other CARES Act relief funds. The site also allows users to perform granular searches of the Trump Small Business Administration’s (SBA) mismanaged Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including by business name, city, state, zip code, congressional district, industry, loan amount, or any combination of these categories. The site will also feature recipients of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Main Street Lending Program (MSLP) for mid-to-large sized businesses whenever data is made publicly available. In the coming days, the site will also feature ongoing analysis, new insights and data visualizations.

“If Congress does not learn from its mistakes that left so many small businesses and workers in the cold, they are sure to repeat them — and that is not something the nation can afford as both the health crisis and recession continue to worsen,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “This website offers the public information it can use to demand that their lawmakers guarantee fairness and greater transparency in the next relief package.”

If there is one constant in the Trump administration’s chaotic response to the pandemic, it has been using the CARES Act to give wealthy, well-connected corporations and special interests virtually everything they asked for — whether they needed the support or not — while marginalizing the needs of struggling small businesses and workers. Those misplaced priorities played out fully in the SBA’s PPP — a poorly designed and executed program that turned away tens of thousands of struggling small businesses, especially in communities of color, while it streamlined billions of tax dollars to large, publicly-traded companies. With little or no accountability or oversight, the PPP has been rife with fraud and abuse, which is now the subject of multiple investigations from the General Accounting Office and the SBA inspector general.

It is critical for the nation’s economic recovery that the next relief package from Congress ensures that help reaches those who need it most, especially Black and other minority-owned businesses that have been disproportionately impacted by the recession. The administration’s decisions to let powerful corporations have free rein to exploit this crisis for their own gain may have been a boon for the Stock Market, but it did little good for the 110,000 small businesses have gone under and the more than 25 million people that have lost their jobs, resulting in the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression.

See HERE Accountable.US’s recommended improvements for the next relief package so that it prioritizes those in need, guards against fraud, tracks the money, and discloses recipients to the public. Unless Congress insists otherwise, the Trump administration will continue to hand out special favors to corporate America again and again.

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