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

PPP Assistance Harmless price-gouging enforcement ppp loan promises coronavirus stimulus check round 2 second wave investing in difficult times

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 publicly-traded 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.

 

Q2 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

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

Disclosure “Debacle” Shows PPP Assistance 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 Trump-Connected

  • 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 Abramson: Another 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.”

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