The two-thirds of a trillion or so in Trump regime "small business loans" that I told you was going to turn into massive corporate graft, sleaze, and outright theft was even worse than anyone could have known and in tens of thousands of cases not a single job was saved as they took the money and ran.
Data released Monday by the Small Business Administration show that businesses owned by members of Congress and the law practice that represented President Trump were among the hundreds of thousands of firms that received aid from the agency.
As part of its $660 billion small business relief program, the SBA also handed out loans to private schools catering to elite clientele, firms owned by foreign companies and large chains backed by well-heeled Wall Street firms. Nearly 90,000 companies in the program took the aid without promising on their applications they would rehire workers or create jobs.
The data, which was released after weeks of pressure from media outlets and lawmakers, paints a picture of a haphazard first-come, first-serve program that was not designed to evaluate the relative need of the recipients. While it buttressed a swath of industries and entities, including restaurants, medical offices, car dealerships, law firms and nonprofits, the agency did not filter out companies that have potential conflicts of interest among influential Washington figures.
Several major chains owned by big investment firms, including PF Changs, Legal Sea Foods, and Silver Diner, received millions of dollars, which may rekindle questions about whether large companies with Wall Street connections should accept the money or not. Over the past weeks, dozens of publicly traded companies returned money after they were told by the Treasury Department that the program was not meant for large, well-capitalized companies.
Companies applying for the money were required to certify that the money was “necessary to support the ongoing operations,” while taking into account “their ability to access other sources of liquidity," the SBA’s website states.
Treasury and SBA spokespersons declined to comment. Other administration officials declined to speak on the record about the data.
“We think we’ve done a reasonably good job of suggesting that those who were not going to be able to meet the certification should have returned money,” said one senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to follow the administration’s rules for releasing the information.
And of course, members of Congress outright looted the Treasury, nearly all of them Republicans.
Among some of those receiving relief were Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s family’s shipping business. In addition, at least seven members of Congress or their spouses received loans, including lawmakers who were directly involved in shaping regulations and also benefited from a blanket waiver of ethics concerns.
Among the loan recipients disclosed is KTAK Corporation, a Tulsa-based operator of fast food franchises owned by Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.). Hern had advocated to increase the size of loans available to franchises, including in a March letter to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Charles E. Schumer.
KTAK reported receiving between $1 million and $2 million to support 220 jobs. Hern spokeswoman Miranda Dabney said the letter was “a bipartisan idea meant to simplify the way loans were calculated,” and said the franchise rule that Hern advocated for did not benefit KTAK because it employs fewer than 500 people.
“These PPP loans are all about paying employees so any expansion or increased funding measures were aimed at helping employees of franchisees stay employed,” Dabney said. “The whole program was designed to keep people off of unemployment.”
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) benefited when three of his car dealerships, located outside of Pittsburgh, received a combined total of between $450,000 and $1.05 million to retain 97 jobs, according to the data.
Kelly is not involved in the day-to-day operations of his auto dealerships, said spokesman Andrew Eisenberger, and did not participate in discussions between the dealerships and the PPP lender.
“Kelly’s small family business employs more than 200 western Pennsylvanians whose jobs were at risk because of [Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s] business shut down order,” Eisenberger said.
Several plumbing businesses affiliated with Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), all based in Broken Arrow, Okla., each received between $350,000 and $1 million. A spokeswoman said Rep. Mullin is not involved in the day-to-day operation of his businesses.
The rich took the cash, fired employees anyway, and pocketed hundreds of billions.
"But Zandar, they have to pay it back, right?"
Sure, they pull accounting tricks and write off losses.
Meanwhile, tens of millions of us lost jobs and the rent's due.