Watchdog Calls on SBA IG to Investigate Irregularities in PPP Data
Following the partial release of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan data earlier today, 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 and below.
July 6, 2020
Hon. Hannibal “Mike” Ware
Office of the Inspector General
U.S. Small Business Administration
409 3rd Street, S.W., Suite 7150
Washington, DC 20416
Inspector General Ware,
As a government watchdog, Accountable.US has called on the Trump administration to disclose basic information on the hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars that flowed to private enterprises as part of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) because taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent.
Earlier today, the administration, after weeks of stonewalling, acquiesced and released partial information on PPP loan recipients. In total, the government released detailed information on just 14% of loan recipients. Unfortunately, the data that was released raises more questions than answers on how the program was administered and raises damning questions on the integrity of the program as a whole.
Throughout the day, companies that were included in the SBA’s own data claimed that they neither submitted applications for nor received PPP loans. For example:
- Index Ventures claimed, “Earlier today, there was an erroneous entry that Index Ventures applied for a PPP loan. We can confirm that Index Ventures did not apply for a PPP loan at any point. Our legal team is looking into why our name is listed and looking to correct it ASAP.”
- Foundation Capital insisted, “Foundation neither applied for or took a PPP loan. Not sure how the mistake happened, but we’re trying to get to the bottom of it. It appears other venture firms were also mistakenly listed.”
- Scooter rental company Bird stated, “Bird was erroneously listed as a company that filed for a PPP Loan. We did not apply for nor did we receive a PPP Loan. We decided as a company not to file an application as we did not want to divert critical funding from small and local businesses.”
How is it that companies that deny taking funds were listed as participating in the program? The above are just a few examples, but how many companies does this apply to? If the data released includes companies that did not receive funds, is it missing companies that did? In short, where did the money go?
Here is what we do know:
- Officials at Treasury and SBA fought to withhold the release of the data.
- The administration was slated to release this data before the July 4th holiday, but “a senior administration official said cleaning the data for public consumption took longer than anticipated…”
- The data is potentially riddled with errors.
The public deserves a full accounting of how hundreds of billions of dollars in PPP funds were spent and an investigation of the Trump administration’s handling to see if any data was included in error, manipulated, or removed. We request your office immediately investigate the process through which this data was turned over to the public to see whether the data was subject to manipulation and political interference.