The US Small Business Administration (SBA) released the names of hundreds of Paycheck Protection Program loan recipients. But in order to protect smaller businesses, the SBA only revealed those businesses that received $150,000 or more. Of the bunch, there were a handful of noteworthy names, including a few that previously claimed they did not apply for funding.
A Healthy Compromise
Prior to the release, members of Congress had pressed the SBA to reveal details about where the loans went. (Since March, the SBA has doled out nearly 5 million such loans. Altogether, they add up to about $520 billion in spending).
The average size of each loan is around $106,744. As this average suggests, most loans were relatively small. Meanwhile, only about 14% of recipients got lot more than $150,000. And yet, the SBA gave this small group nearly 75% of all available funding. Naturally, the public has demanded transparency in regard to which received so much of the government’s money.
Still, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed concern over releasing data on all of the recipients. But Congress and the SBA ultimately met in the middle. Mnuchin now says the decision “strikes the appropriate balance of providing the American people with transparency, while protecting sensitive payroll and personal income information of small businesses, sole proprietors, and independent contractors.”
The list of recipients includes some figures who may have preferred to stay anonymous. While some have close political ties, others are clearly not small businesses. Here are a few of the most shocking names.
Those with stakes in politics:
- Foremost Maritime received between $350,000 and $1 million. Its founder’s daughter is Secretary Elaine Chao, a member of President Trump’s cabinet. Chao’s husband is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
- The Ayn Rand Institute, a nonprofit which promotes libertarian politics and condemns government handouts, received between $350,000 and $1 million. Critics are blasting the institute for its glaring hypocrisy.
- The company co-founded by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Perdue Inc., received a loan valued between $150,000 and $350,000. The Secretary’s children indirectly own 99% of the company through a trust. However, a Perdue spokesperson says the Secretary had no say in the company’s application, nor in the government’s granting of the loan.
- Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in New Jersey received between $1 million and $2 million. The school’s namesake, Joseph Kushner, was the grandfather of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and chief advisor.
A number of explicitly political organizations also received loans. These include:
- The Women’s National Republican Club of New York
- The Florida Democratic Party Building Fund
- The Ohio Democratic Party
- The Black Republican Caucus in Florida
Lastly, some companies, which are clearly not small businesses, managed to receive loans. These include:
- Restaurant chains P.F. Chang’s, and Chop’t. These companies received large loans valued between $5 million and $10 million.
- TGI Fridays received a loan valued at at least $5 million.
- Forbes Media
- The Washington Times
- The American Prospect
- The Daily Caller
- The Daily Caller News Foundation
There were a number of inaccuracies in the report. The SBA mistakenly listed some companies that did not receive funding. For example, both Bird and Index Ventures were included on the list, but claim to have not received a loan. The SBA has since addressed this issue, explaining that some applications might not have been officially cancelled. Additionally, some of the companies listed may have already returned their loans.