Analysis: More than 900 companies that got PPP loans still laid off or furloughed 90K workers

Analysis: More than 900 companies that got PPP loans still laid off or furloughed 90K workers
© getty: Patrons line up outside the Atilis Gym on May 20, 2020 in Bellmawr, New Jersey.

More than 900 companies that received more than a combined $1.8 billion in coronavirus relief loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) still laid off or furloughed about 90,000 workers, an analysis from the Center for Public Integrity reveals.  

Public Integrity noted that it’s unclear what the money was spent on, but businesses that don’t rehire their workers may have to pay back the loan plus 1 percent interest. The center also pointed out that they could be charged with fraud if the money was spent on rent, payroll, utilities or mortgage interest, per the conditions of PPP.

The Small Business Administration told The Hill that it does not comment on third-party analyses of small business data. 

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The analysis comes as Congress scrambles to finalize the details of a $900 billion coronavirus relief package, which is expected to include money for another round of PPP loans.

PPP was part of the $2 trillion CARES Act that President TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Has Trump beaten the system? MORE signed into law in March.

More than 5 million businesses received PPP loans, Public Integrity found, amounting to $525 billion. The CARES Act was amended in June to require companies to spend 60 percent of the money on payroll and maintain the same number of full-time employees as they did prior to the pandemic, the center notes.

This isn’t the first time the program has come under scrutiny, with a string of news stories drawing attention to questionable loans.

Televangelist Joel Osteen came under fire this week after the Houston Business Journal reported that his church, Lakewood Church, received a $4.4 million PPP loan.