Democrats hammer Mnuchin after he says names of small-business borrowers won't be disclosed

Democrats hammer Mnuchin after he says names of small-business borrowers won't be disclosed
© Bonnie Cash

Democrats tore into Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election Democrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer MORE after he said this week that companies that received billions of dollars through a coronavirus relief fund will not be named in a reversal of past guidance. 

“Let’s be clear: Secretary Mnuchin is part of the most corrupt administration in history riddled with conflicts, cronyism, & incompetence. It’s absurd that he believes he should hand out more than $500 billion of taxpayers funds in secret,” Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate confirms Biden's Air Force secretary Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Will Pence primary Trump — and win? MORE (D-Mass.), a frequent Mnuchin critic, tweeted Friday. 

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“We knew PPP was broken. We knew minority-owned businesses weren’t receiving help. We knew mass unemployment wasn't being ended. And now, it's clear the Trump admin has been completely corrupt with this program. We must get relief to all workers now,” Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalHouse Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate Schumer feels pressure from all sides on spending strategy Liberal House Democrats urge Schumer to stick to infrastructure ultimatum MORE (D-Wash.), the co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, added, referring to the Paycheck Protection Program.

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The PPP was a critical part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed earlier this year to try to provide economic relief to blunt the fiscal fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mnuchin said at a Senate hearing this week that the administration believes the names of borrowers under the program and the amounts they are sent are “propriety” and “confidential” in many cases. 

However, applications for PPP loans, which are forgivable if firms meet certain standards, say the data will be released “automatically.” 

The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request from The Hill asking if the agency had any updated guidance as to what, if any, information on PPP borrowers would be released.

The Treasury Department has defended Mnuchin’s position, saying it had concerns that releasing data on borrowers’ identities could risk disclosing propriety information and the salaries of workers and contractors since the PPP loan amounts are tabulated using payrolls of the companies that apply. The agency maintains the PPP fund is different than other programs that include transparency measures. 

The apparent reversal comes as the Government Accountability Office is requesting loan data from the PPP to help craft a required report on the program’s spending.