Company Involved in ANWR Drilling Got Nearly $7 Million In PPP Funds Despite Being Under Active Investigation By State and Federal Authorities For Misappropriation of Millions In Funds

WASHINGTON, D.C. The Washington Post is reporting, based in part on research from Accountable.US, that energy company SAExploration received $6.8 million in funding through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), despite being under investigation by two federal agencies and the state of Alaska. The oil services firm has been under investigation since last year by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Justice Department for alleged financial wrongdoing.

“This administration continues to give Paycheck Protection Program funds to large well-connected corporations, rather than the small businesses the program was created to help,” said Kyle Herrig, President of Accountable.US. “The Trump administration should keep its promise to investigate and prosecute companies that took the money and shouldn’t have.”  

According to the Post, SAExploration fired its chief financial officer and placed its CEO on leave after the SEC launched an investigation into the firm for allegedly providing misleading financial statements to investors. An internal investigation later found that the former CFO had misappropriated millions of dollars of funds between 2012 and 2019.

The embattled company has close ties to the Trump Administration: Interior Department political appointee Steve Wackowski, Interior’s Senior Advisor for Alaska Affairs, was previously employed by a joint venture involving SAExploration. 

The Trump administration has prioritized bailouts for the oil and gas industry during the coronavirus pandemic over support for working families. In just the first two weeks of the Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program, oil, gas and mining companies got a whopping $3.9 billion in PPP funding, even though the program was designed to help small businesses, not publicly traded corporations. In its bailing out of extractive resource corporations, the administration has given PPP funding to a foreign-owned uranium mining corporation with ties to the Trump administration, an Indiana-based coal corporation with a former Trump official as its lobbyist, and oil corporations that spent millions on stock buybacks.

Accountable.US has been tracking the administration’s response to COVID-19. TrumpBailouts.org documents the billion-dollar corporations and other large companies that have received taxpayer assistance under the CARES Act, and what advantages and assets they had going into the COVID-19 crisis that most small businesses could never access.

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