Companies with ties to President
Recipients also included nonprofit groups that advocate against such massive government spending.
Meanwhile, some advocates for small businesses said that a massive release of data from the $669 billion Paycheck Protection Program -- the U.S. government’s largest coronavirus relief operation -- contained too many gaps to allow for evaluating its effectiveness. The data can be found here.
The information on almost 4.9 million loans, released Monday morning on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website, revealed that big-name law firms and cultural institutions including Carnegie Hall were approved for the program. Several investment firms questioned their inclusion in the data, saying they considered tapping so-called PPP loans, but
Here are highlights of initial findings:
The disclosures, which come after members of
The program, passed hurriedly by Congress in March, was designed to provide small firms with loans of as much as $10 million, based on a company’s average monthly payroll before the pandemic. The loans can become grants if borrowers use the proceeds mostly to pay workers -- with some spending allowed for rent and overhead costs. Almost from the beginning, the PPP was dogged by controversy as some publicly traded firms tapped it. Many returned loans after their borrowing drew criticism.
The list of firms that were approved for relief loans features well-known restaurant groups, retailers and law firms such
Companies owned by the family of
Religious organizations were approved for loans totaling $7.3 billion, according to SBA and the U.S. Treasury Department, which ran the program jointly. The Archdiocese of New York was listed in the data as receiving a loan of between $5 million and $10 million. Civic and social organizations and other nonprofits also received loans, including colleges and universities, museums and the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.
“We are grateful to Congress for this lifeline, if only for a few months, as it not only helped with short- and long-term initiatives tied to our mission, but directly benefits the girls who are living through these unprecedented times,” the Girl Scouts said in a statement.
The Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, a conservative-allied group headed by anti-tax activist
Another recipient: The Ayn Rand Institute of Santa Ana, California, which advocates for laissez-faire capitalism, as did its namesake, the author of the philosophical novel Atlas Shrugged.
In a web posting in May, institute officials wrote that they planned to accept federal relief: “For advocates of freedom, individual rights and limited government to turn down these relief funds means choosing to play only the victim’s role in the government’s bizarre game of ‘loot and be looted.’” The group was approved for a loan of between $350,000 and $1 million, supporting 35 jobs, according to the data.
The PPP’s supporters say it has kept tens of millions of workers employed during the pandemic, contributing to the surprising 2.5 million U.S. jobs that were added in May, with an additional 4.8 million jobs in June. The SBA and the Treasury Department said borrowers reported that PPP loans supported 51.1 million jobs, or as much as 84% of all small business employees before the pandemic. Treasury Secretary
Monday’s release reflects loans totaling almost $521.5 billion, which were approved between the start of the program on April 3 and June 30, when the SBA temporarily stopped accepting new applications. Congress voted last week to extend the program until Aug. 8, and it reopened Monday morning.
Mnuchin had been criticized by transparency advocates for
For those loans below $150,000, the agencies are disclosing specific loan amounts along with industry codes, ZIP codes, number of jobs supported and other data -- but no personally identifiable borrower information.
That left “gaping holes and inconsistencies” in the information -- including firms shown as getting loans as little as $1 -- raising questions about how minority-owned businesses and the smallest companies fared, said
“The data set makes it next to impossible to determine how well small businesses were served by PPP,” Arensmeyer said in a statement.
SBA and Treasury officials said they provided access to the full data to congressional committees that have demanded it. Personally identifiable information in the data shared with Congress will be treated as confidential, according to letters the SBA and Treasury
Critics wanted to see which larger firms and chains took PPP loans after reports that entities such as
On Monday, representatives of several venture capital firms that were listed as small-business bailout recipients in the data said they didn’t apply for the program or get any of its funding. In at least one case, a portfolio company for which the firm Andreessen Horowitz is the beneficial owner received between $350,000 and $1 million, according to a spokeswoman for the bank that handled the loan application. Others said they were working with the SBA to try to address what they called errors.
Public companies had returned almost 70 PPP loans totaling $436.5 million as of Monday evening, according to data compiled by FactSquared, but the SBA and Treasury have not disclosed how many loans in all, including from closely-held firms, were repaid. About $38.5 billion in coronavirus relief loans for small businesses were canceled as of the end of May, according to a
News reports on the program have disclosed that members of Congress have taken or benefited from PPP loans, as well as firms that have reported significant revenue, closed facilities or filed for bankruptcy protection after getting assistance. Some small-business owners sued large banks, accusing the lenders of making a priority of large loans for favored customers at the expense of the smallest firms that sought funding.
As part of Monday’s disclosures, federal officials have indicated that they’d release demographic data related to the loans – though officials said the information is limited because it’s based on what lenders asked borrowers to provide voluntarily. The SBA’s inspector general had criticized the agency in a
Trump administration officials have said that by revealing names for the biggest borrowers, Monday’s disclosure accounts for about three-fourths of the total dollar amount in loans approved. But critics say that’s deceptive because almost 87% of all the loans were for amounts less than $150,000. The average loan size was about $107,000, the SBA and Treasury said.
Almost 3.3 million loans, or 67% of the total, were for amounts of $50,000 or less, data released by SBA and Treasury as of June 30 show. They made up 11% of the total amount lent. At the other extreme, more than 4,800 loans were for more than $5 million, accounting for less than 1% of the number of transactions and almost 7% of the amount lent, data show.
Companies in the health care and social assistance industry accounted for the largest amount in loans, at $67.4 billion, followed by professional, scientific and technical services firms at $66.4 billion; construction at $64.6 billion; manufacturing at $54 billion; and accommodation and food services at $42.1 billion, according to the data released.
California, Florida, Texas, New York and Illinois had the largest numbers of loans and the most in dollar amount approved, data show.
There were 5,461 lenders that participated in the program, with large banks that have more than $50 billion in assets accounting for 36% of the dollar amount, and lenders with less than $10 billion approving 44%, according to the data.
The SBA was overwhelmed by initial demand for the loans, and the initial $349 billion in funding was exhausted in just 13 days. Demand
(Updates with additional recipients of loans, beginning in first paragraph)
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