Mnuchin: Small business coronavirus loans above $2M will be audited

Mnuchin: Small business coronavirus loans above $2M will be audited
© Bonnie Cash

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinFive takeaways from PPP loan data On The Money: Trump administration releases PPP loan data | Congress gears up for battle over expiring unemployment benefits | McConnell opens door to direct payments in next coronavirus bill 40 Trump-connected lobbyists secured over B in coronavirus relief for clients: report MORE said Tuesday that the Trump administration will audit every company that receives an emergency coronavirus loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) greater than $2 million.

Mnuchin said that any business that receives more than $2 million from the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will be scrutinized by the agency to assess whether it truly needed the funding, which is meant for small businesses struggling to retain workers.

“This was a program designed for small businesses. It was not a program that was designed for public companies that had liquidity,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday.

Mnuchin's comments come a day after applications opened for a second round of $310 billion in PPP funding after the initial $349 billion allocated for the program ran out in less than two weeks. While the program is intended to help struggling businesses with fewer than 500 employees retain their workers through the pandemic, several large companies with ample financial options were able to obtain loans.

Several of those, including Ruth's Chris Steak House, Shake Shack and the Los Angeles Lakers, announced they would return their loans to the government after the Treasury Department warned last week that large, publicly traded firms could not likely say in "good faith" that they qualify for the program.