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Democrats accuse SBA of stonewalling GAO’s attempts to oversee lending program

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House Democrats accused the Small Business Administration (SBA) of stonewalling the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) attempts to oversee coronavirus relief aid including a lending program to assist businesses impacted by the pandemic. 

GAO told Congress members that the SBA has not complied with requests for interviews, documents and data as part of GAO’s oversight responsibilities over programs established by the CARES Act, Democrats said in a letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza on Wednesday. 

The Democrats said the SBA has also not provided GAO with loan level data on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides loans for small businesses to avoid layoffs amid the pandemic. 

“Unfortunately, many large companies were able to utilize this program and obtained PPP loans that were intended for small businesses,” Democrats wrote. “Refusing to provide basic data to GAO about PPP loans appears to be an attempt to avoid such oversight and accountability.”

The Democrats requested the SBA provide the Oversight committee with all data, documents, interviews and other information requested to GAO by June 29. They are also calling for the SBA to confirm by the same date that the SBA has “fully cooperated” with GAO’s requests. 

“It is critical that SBA comply immediately with all of GAO’s requests and continue to do so in a manner that is transparent and accountable,” Democrats wrote. 

The letter is signed by Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Coronavirus Select Committee Chairman James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Appropriations subcommittee chair Mike Quigley (D-Ill.). 

The SBA declined to comment.

Tags CARES Act Carolyn Maloney Coronavirus coronavirus relief Government Accountability Office Jovita Carranza Mike Quigley Nita Lowey Payment Protection Program ppp Small Business Administration Small Business Administration

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