WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, following months of obfuscation, delays, and a lost legal battle, Trump’s Small Business Administration (SBA) finally released information last night on recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans up to $150,000. While the program was billed as a much-needed relief program for mom-and-pop businesses struggling to weather the tough economic conditions brought on by COVID-19, it’s clear from the data that it was not small businesses, but fraudsters and well-connected larger businesses, that won out in the PPP. 

As reporting yesterday in the Washington Post highlighted, more than half of the PPP loans distributed through the program’s expiration in August went to larger businesses and “only 28 percent of the money was distributed in amounts less than $150,000.” And recipients included enterprises like international brand franchises, churches, and Wall Street firms — a far cry from the program’s intended targets. 

Meanwhile, more than 400,000 small businesses have closed for good since the start of the pandemic, with those in communities of color hit hardest of all. 

“It’s been clear for months that the Trump administration’s poor design and implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program left it open to rampant abuse and fraud. What the new data reveals is just how badly mom-and-pop businesses were excluded from the program so larger businesses could cash in,” said Kyle Herrig, president of government watchdog Accountable.US. “Americans deserve a small business relief program that is clear and transparent, and Congress must ensure that any new program does not repeat the PPP’s many mistakes.” 

Accountable.US has collected the newly released SBA data in a searchable database available at searchPPP.com. The site is searchable by business name or address, and allows additional filters including city, state, zip code, congressional district, industry, and loan amount. The temporary database accompanies the group’s existing COVID Bailout Tracker  — another searchable database of previous PPP, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), and Payroll Support Program (PSP) loans. In coming days, all data will be available for searching at the COVID Bailout Tracker 

The group will be tracking its key findings from the data on its PPP Live Blog

KEY POINTS FROM THE WASHINGTON POST:

  • “According to data on the government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), about 600 mostly larger companies, including dozens of national chains, received the maximum amount allowed under the program of $10 million.”
     
  • “Officials from the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have argued the program primarily benefited smaller businesses because a vast majority of the loans ― more than 87 percent ― were for less than $150,000, as of August. But the new data shows more than half of the $522 billion in the same time frame went to bigger businesses, and only 28 percent of the money was distributed in amounts less than $150,000.”
     
  • “Previous disclosures of PPP loan data showed the program was falling fall short of the Trump administration’s claims of its success. A Post analysis of 4.9 million loans initially released by the SBA contained numerous errors, casting doubt on the administration’s claim that the $517 billion in lending had “supported” 51 million jobs.”
     
  • “For more than 875,000 borrowers, the data showed that zero jobs were supported or no information is listed at all, according to the analysis.”
     
  • “Investigators at the Justice Department, FBI, IRS and other agencies have joined forces to identify fraudulent borrowers, and in September the government announced it had charged 57 people with trying to steal a total of $175 million. The SBA inspector general’s office has received tens of thousands of fraud tips, and federal officials have launched hundreds of investigations.” 

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