Call for Investigation: Companies linked to six Trump cabinet members have received PPP loans


A watchdog group called for an investigation into paycheck protection program loans to companies with ties to members of President Trump’s cabinet.

The PPP was part of the $ 2.2 trillion CARES bill that Congress passed this spring in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The program, which distributed forgivable loans to small businesses to cover payroll and other expenses, helped countless businesses stay afloat and saved millions of jobs. It has also drawn criticism after business owners claimed that banks were prioritizing large existing customers over troubled small businesses, creating difficulty for small business owners in accessing help, while many companies with ties to Trump and his administration received substantial funding.

Companies affiliated with at least six members of Trump’s cabinet received PPP loans, which led to an investigation.

“These treasury loans to companies with internal administrative access should be investigated to ensure people’s money is being spent responsibly,” Chris Saeger, a spokesman for progressive watchdog group Accountable.US., Told Salon.

Among the cabinet members associated with companies that have received PPP loans is Jovita Carranza, the head of the Small Business Administration who oversees the program.

Carranza previously served on the Board of Trustees of Alverno College in Milwaukee and chaired the college’s School of Business Council. The school received a $ 2 million to $ 5 million PPP loan in April as small businesses struggled to raise funds before the first round of funding quickly dried up. The Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation, a nonprofit that previously awarded Carranza a leadership award, also received a PPP loan of between $ 150,000 and $ 350,000.

Foremost Group, the family business of Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, received a PPP loan of between $ 350,000 and $ 1 million in April.

Perdue Inc., the company founded by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, received a PPP loan of between $ 150,000 and $ 350,000 in April.

Comstat Inc., a former client of Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, received a $ 5 million to $ 10 million PPP loan in April.

Former customers of Interior Minister David Bernhardt, a long-time energy lobbyist, also received large loans. The Nuclear Fuels Working Group, a former customer, received more than $ 890,000 in a PPP loan in April. Another former customer, Samson Resources, received a $ 1 million to $ 2 million PPP loan.

Martin Farms, a former client of longtime lobbyist Andrew Wheeler who now heads the Environmental Protection Agency, received a $ 150,000-350,000 PPP loan in April.

Customers of Wheeler’s former company, Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, also received numerous loans. The Immune Deficiency Foundation, which was a customer until January, received a PPP loan of between $ 350,000 and $ 1,000,000 in April. The COPD Foundation, which was also a customer of the company until January, received a PPP loan of between $ 150,000 and $ 350,000 in May. The American Telemedicine Association, a customer of the company, received a PPP loan of $ 150,000 to $ 350,000 in June.

Along with the six cabinet members with corporate ties who have received PPP loans, incumbent Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf previously lobbied on behalf of American Airlines, which raised $ 4 billion through the Payroll Support Program that flowed from the bail. The aviation industry received $ 1.7 billion in grants and $ 1.7 billion in loans.

Several customers of Wolf’s former Wexler & Walker company have also received up to $ 1 million in PPP loans, including the National Federation of State High School Associations and United Technologies.

Many Trump employees have also received PPP loans.

Roger Sollenberger of the salon reported earlier this week that a mysterious payroll company owned by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani may have committed fraud when it received a PPP loan valued at $ 150,000 to $ 350,000.

ProPublica reported in July that Trump’s family and employees are receiving up to $ 21 million in coronavirus aid, including companies affiliated with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

“This seems to be another example,” Saeger told Salon, “that the government is continuing to flood the swamp that it promised to drain.”


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