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Paycheck Protection Program Updates

The Paycheck Protection Program was created to help struggling small businesses survive the COVID-19 economic crisis. Yet since the program’s inception, many large corporations have claimed millions of dollars in taxpayer assistance. Accountable.US is tracking the money in efforts to provide transparency where the Trump administration has failed to do so. Follow our live blog to stay up to date.


Workers Pay Price of Trump Administration Failures as Elected Leaders Look to Pump More Money in Failed Programs

[UPDATED: JULY 28]

Today, the Senate is set to release a new coronavirus aid proposal that would cut federal unemployment benefits by $400, even as recent reporting shows that 1/5 workers have filed unemployment claims and the Department of Labor released data showing that unemployment claims are rising for the first time since March. These crucial benefits have kept millions out of poverty thus far, and the emerging deal between Congress and the White House would devastate American families that have relied on government assistance to survive in this time of unprecedented economic turmoil. Instead, the next relief package being released today appears to include another $100 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Find out more>>


What We Know from More Businesses Permanently Closing

A new Yelp analysis shows that permanent business closures are now outpacing temporary closures. Even worse, the increased consumer interest that occurred in May while states began reopening their economies correlates with the resurging coronavirus infections we saw in June. This lays bare one simple fact: we cannot solve the economic crisis facing this country without first solving the public health crisis.

Read more.


As Partial PPP Extension Looms, Big Questions Remain

There is broad agreement that our small businesses need help in these challenging times, especially with the resurgence of the coronavirus raging across the country.  Senate lawmakers and the White House are considering several proposals, but news reports indicate they have not yet reached a consensus. One point they seem to agree on is extending the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) broken Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in some way, shape, or form, but key details are lacking to address fundamental problems with the program.

Learn more.


Senate Hearing Highlights How Horribly Trump Admin Has Failed Minority-Owned Businesses

Thursday’s Senate Committee on Small Business hearing examined how badly the Trump administration has failed to provide adequate financial assistance to businesses in communities of color struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of helping mom-and-pop shops and small local operators, millions of dollars from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) were funneled to wealthy and well-connected publicly-traded companies. In fact, one survey reviewing applications in May found only 12% of Black and Latinx business owners received the SBA relief they had applied for.

Our statement>>

 


BREAKING: Watchdog Statement on U.S. Reaching 4M COVID Cases

The New York Times is reporting that today, the United States reached another tragic milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic: four million confirmed cases of the virus. 

Read our statement in response.

 


REPORT: Wells Fargo reported giving only one large PPP loan to a Black-owned business

According to new reporting by Salon, of the more than 12,000 SBA Paycheck Protection Program loans that Wells Fargo handled valued at $150,000 or higher, the bank reported distributing only one PPP loan to a Black-owned business.  Additionally, unlike other lenders, Wells Fargo neglected to disclose any job retention data for over 8,000 of these loans and reported ZERO jobs saved for the remainder of the 12,000+ loans it made. The other 4 biggest U.S. banks only neglected to report jobs data on only about 290 of the more than 78,000 PPP loans they handled.

Learn more.

 


As 1.4 Million More Lose Jobs and Income Cliff Looms, Trump’s Senate Allies Eye Unemployment Benefit Cuts While Still Overlooking PPP’s Failures

 The U.S. economy slipped further into recession as 1.4 million more workers entered the unemployment ranks this week – marking the 18th straight week that over a million workers filed initial claims for jobless benefits. With the CARES Act’s enhanced benefits set to expire in most states at the end of the week, millions of families face an income cliff and great uncertainty. Yet despite 75% public support for extending them, the President’s allies in Congress are taking a hard line that any extension must include deep benefit cuts – threatening to slash over 20 million workers’ income by half. Meanwhile, Congress is refusing to address the flaws in the Trump SBA’s poorly designed and executed Paycheck Protection Program that allowed for over 110,000 small businesses to shutter, especially in communities of color.

More here.

 


Trump & Allies Aim to Help Industry Execs As Workers Face Cliff

New reports indicate that President Trump and his allies are once more looking out for big corporations as they plan for another relief package — but remain virtually silent for workers.

With additional unemployment benefits from the CARES Act slated to expire soon, Americans desperately need support from Washington. But rather prioritizing benefits and assistance to workers and their families, the Trump administration is looking to a tax credit cash-out and payroll tax cut to help out wealthy corporate executives.

Learn more.

 


MEMO: Admin’s Poorly Executed PPP Calls Into Question Design, Data and Dispensing of Taxpayer $

When Congress passed the CARES Act, it created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as a lifeline for small businesses struggling to survive the historic COVID-19 public health and economic crisis. For all the Trump administration’s talk of the program’s success, in reality, it failed in many ways. 

Here is what we know.

 


This week in PPP catastrophes…

[JULY 17]

Another week is coming to a close, and we’re left with more questions than ever about the Trump administration’s limited data dump surrounding recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds. Here’s what we have learned.


Government Accountability Experts Discuss how Next PPP Must Include Proper Transparency, Oversight

Government accountability experts from Accountable.US, a nonpartisan watchdog group that exposes corruption across all levels of government, American Oversight, and Project on Government Oversight (POGO) discussed how Congress must redesign any new small business relief measure so that it is transparent, data-driven, and aligned with the needs of the communities that need the help the most.

Learn more here>>>

 


Trump Recession Deepens as 1.3 Million More File for Unemployment, PPP Still Leaving Small Businesses Behind

[UPDATED: JULY 16 – 1:30 PM EST]

The U.S. economy fell further into recession as 1.3 million more workers entered the unemployment ranks this week. Yet with enhanced benefits set to run out in a matter of days and despite 75% public support for extending them, the President’s allies in Congress are considering drastic reductions as the struggles of out-of-work families compound. And while the Trump SBA’s corrupt and mismanaged Paycheck Protection Program has been extended, lawmakers did not bother to fix the program’s fundamental flaws that allowed 110,000 small businesses to shutter, especially in communities of color.

Read our response >>

 


Big Oil Cashes In While Renewable Energy Given Paltry Support

After reporting last week in The Guardian revealed that some 5,600 Big Oil and fossil fuel industry companies had reeled in between $3 and $6.7 billion in Payroll Protection Program (PPP) monies meant for small businesses, Accountable.US found that only 239 wind and solar companies received a maximum of $188 million in PPP funds.

Learn more >>

 


Lawmakers Highlight Admin’s Failure to Get States PPE & Tests

At the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on “Reviewing Federal and State Pandemic Supply Preparedness and Response,” the Trump administration came under fire for its continued failure to help states get the resources they need to protect people from COVID-19.

Read our response here>>

 


New Bloomberg Analysis Shows PPP Data Riddled with Errors, Casting Doubt on Program’s Efficacy

[UPDATED: JULY 14 – 3:30 PM EST]

A new Bloomberg analysis shows that the recently released data for more than $521 billion in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are filled with errors — including loan amounts and number of jobs retained — raising more questions than answers on how the program was executed.

Read our response here.

 


Four days later, who we know got PPP funds…

After much stalling and handwringing, the Trump administration this week finally released limited information on recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). While the released data only represents 14% of the federal relief fund recipients and 75 percent of the money doled out, the trends are clear: this program was poorly designed, allowing big corporations with ties to the Trump administration, through donors or K-Street lobbyists, to exploit it while many actual small businesses got shut out. 

Here’s some of what we’ve learned.

 


Only 143 Out Of Over 650,000 Large PPP Loans Go To Black-Owned Firms As Communities Of Color Continue To Call For Help From Trump Administration

[UPDATED: JULY 9 – 5:30 PM EST]

Thursday’s House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing revealed that only 143 Black-owned firms received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan over 150 thousand dollars, showing just how badly the Trump administration has failed to provide adequate financial assistance to businesses in communities of color struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of helping mom-and-pop shops and small local operators, millions of dollars from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) PPP were doled out to wealthy and well-connected publicly-traded companies.

Learn more >>

 


PPP Data Raise More Questions Than Answers

After weeks of stonewalling, the Trump administration acquiesced this week and released partial information on certain recipients under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), accounting for just 14% of recipients.

Unfortunately, the error-riddled data that was released raises more questions than it answers on how the program was administered and on the integrity of the program as a whole. 

Read more >>

 


Trump Targets School Funding as PPP Funds Flow to Private and Charter Schools

The Trump administration announced that it might cut federal funding for K-12 schools nationwide that refuse to reopen amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, millions from Trump’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) went to support private and charter schools, many of which have not lost their major funding streams during the crisis. 

More here >>

 


Companies That Received Millions In Taxpayer-Funded Bailouts Have Extensive Federal Violations

A newly released investigation by The Guardian finds that a number of energy companies that took Payroll Protection Program (PPP) funds have been fined millions more for environmental and workplace safety violations.

Read our reaction >>

 


Trump has failed minority-owned businesses. Here’s how Congress can help.

Accountable.US President Kyle Herrig and former Small Business Administration (SBA) Deputy Administrator Marie Johns published an op-ed in USA Today on how Trump’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has failed minority-owned small businesses and what Congress can do to fix the broken program.

More here >>>


Error-Ridden PPP Data Show Taxpayer Funds Funneled to the Wealthy & Well-Connected

[UPDATED: JULY 7 – 3:00 PM EST]

Yesterday, the Trump administration released a limited collection of data about recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) assistance. The program has been rampantly mismanaged from the start, allowing big businesses and publiclytraded companies to exploit the program with little transparency or oversight. The data released yesterday has been riddled with errors, raising questions about the PPP’s integrity. All the while, actual small businesses — especially those run by people of color — have been left to struggle or close entirely.

Here’s just some of what the data has revealed so far:

DISCLOSURE “DEBACLE” SHOWS PROGRAM NOT WORKING AS INTENDED 

  • Axios: “Within hours [of the PPP data disclosure], several well-known companies and investment firms on the list denied that they had ever applied for PPP loans, let alone received them.
    • Be smart: There were over 660,000 companies listed. And reporters only called a tiny percentage of them. If the error rate *we* found is representative of the larger sample, then who knows how many PPP loans there really were, or what companies they went to. Imagine if small businesses got shut out of the initial pool, and then shut down or laid off employees, if the initial pool wasn’t actually exhausted?
      • There’s going to need to be an audit, and not just the promised reviews of companies that got loans north of $2 million.
      • Was this just a bunch of fat fingers? Fraud? Incompetence? A combination of all three?
    • The bottom line: The purpose of these PPP disclosures was to better understand how the program worked, particularly ahead of a phase 4 stimulus. What we’ve learned is that we need even more disclosures.”
  • Washington Post: “Nearly 90,000 companies in the program took the aid without promising on their applications they would rehire workers or create jobs.”

BAILOUTS FOR THE WEALTHY & SPECIAL INTERESTS 

FUNDS FOR THE TRUMPCONNECTED 

  • AP“As much as $273 million in federal coronavirus aid was awarded to more than 100 companies that are owned or operated by major donors to President Donald Trump’s election efforts
    • AP“…the Trump supporters who run these companies have contributed at least $11.1 million since May 2015 to Trump’s campaign committees, the Republican National Committee and America First Action, a super PAC that has been endorsed by Trump, the AP review found. Each donor gave at least $20,000.”
  •  AP: Trump donors among early recipients of coronavirus loans
  • CNBC: Pro-Trump lobbyists worked with firms that received small business relief loans
  • Alana AbramsonAnother Trump GOP donor who scored big on PPP loans: Ralph Herzka, CEO of real estate firm Meridian Capital Group, which received between $5 and $10 million Herzka has given $150k to Trump victory since 2018, per fec filings.”

 


Accountable.US Calls on SBA IG to Investigate Irregularities in PPP Data

[UPDATED: JULY 6 – 7:00 PM EST]

Following the partial release of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan data, Accountable.US President Kyle Herrig penned a letter to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) inspector general urging that he open an investigation into the irregularities in the data.

The letter is available here.

 


ICE detention facility, Immigration Centers of America – Farmville, LLC received a PPP loan between $2-5 million


Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s family’s shipping company, the Foremost Group, received $350k-$1m in PPP loans.

[UPDATED: JULY 6 – 4:30 PM EST]

 


Admin Bails Out Vape Shops Amid Respiratory Pandemic

[UPDATED: JULY 6 – 1:30 PM EST]

Amid the public health crisis surrounding COVID-19, an illness that targets the lungs, the Trump administration gave $876,515 of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) assistance to Healthier Choices Management Corp. — a company whose subsidiaries operate ten vape stores.

In addition to offering financial support to shops selling e-cigarettes, which evidence suggests may have severe impacts on lung health in the short and long term, the administration also gave a hand to an industry that may not need the helpTobacco and marijuana have proven to be largely recession-proof products, not taking huge dips in sales even in times of serious economic downturn.

And tobacco sellers have even seen an increase in sales amid the COVID-19 crisis — even as more than 100,000 small businesses have been forced to shutter.

Learn more>>


Newly-Released, Limited Data Show Admin Failure on Paycheck Protection Program

[UPDATED: JULY 6 – 12:30 PM EST]

The Trump administration begrudgingly released partial information on loan recipients of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), after months of growing public pressure to disclose who received funds and how taxpayer dollars were spent.

The new data reveals more evidence of the PPP’s rampant mismanagement: this program intended to help small businesses has benefited large companies, special interests, and shockingly, states that we largely unharmed by the crisis when the aid was approved.

Learn more >>