Finance

Lawmaker-linked businesses received PPP loans

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Several businesses with ties to lawmakers received loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to examinations of data released Monday by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Among the lawmakers whose businesses received loans were GOP Reps. Kevin Hern (Okla.), Mike Kelly (Pa.) and Markwayne Mullin (Okla.).

KTAK Corp., a company owned by Hern that has several McDonald’s franchises, received a loan between $1 million and $2 million. Kelly, who owns several car dealerships, has entities that received loans between $150,000 and $350,000. Mullin owns several plumbing businesses that received loans totaling between $800,000 and $2 million, according to The Hill’s examination of the SBA data.

The Washington Post and Politico previously reported on the ties between the three lawmakers and PPP recipients.

A Scranton, Pa., law firm where Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) worked for 25 years and maintains a retirement plan received a loan between $350,000 and $1 million. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) owns several car dealerships in North Texas through his company, the JRW Corporation, which received between $1 million and $2 million.

Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.) is the founder of a construction company that received between $350,000 and $1 million, though spokeswoman Andrea Porwoll said the congressman relinquished his majority stake years before he became a lawmaker and his office consulted with the House General Counsel on the company’s eligibility for the loan. His wife is listed as a partner on the company’s website, but Porwoll said she has no decision-making authority at the firm.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and his wife have a fractional stake in Atlas Sand Co., which received between $2 million and $5 million. A spokesperson said neither have decision-making authority.

Congressional offices for Hern, Kelly, Mullin, Cartwright, Allen and Roy said they were not involved in day-to-day operations of the companies and had no involvement in procuring the PPP loans.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) disclosed in an Ethics Committee filing last year that he is a limited partner in two California wineries, each of which received a PPP loan between $1 million and $2 million.

Spokespeople for Nunes and Williams did not respond to a request for comment. 

A business linked to the husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) received a PPP loan. Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told The Hill that the Speaker’s husband, Paul Pelosi, only has an 8.1 percent stake in the company.

“Mr. Pelosi is a minor, passive investor in this company,” Hammill said. “He was not involved in or even aware of this PPP loan.”

Businesses with links to members of Congress are not prohibited from receiving PPP loans. But the news that companies linked to lawmakers received loans comes as the program has been receiving scrutiny about whether it is helping the small businesses in most need of assistance.

The SBA in April issued guidance that allows lawmakers and other federal officials to obtain loans without going through a review aimed at preventing conflicts of interest.

The PPP, created by legislation President Trump signed in March, is aimed at helping small businesses retain their employees during the coronavirus pandemic. Under the program, small businesses and nonprofits can receive loans that the federal government will forgive if employers use the money for payroll and other key expenses and maintain employee and compensation levels.

The SBA, in consultation with the Treasury Department, released data on Monday about recipients of loans for $150,000 or more. The agency also released information about loans under $150,000 that did not include the names of recipients.

The list of recipients for the largest loans shows that a wide variety of groups have received aid through the PPP, including health care organizations, restaurants, private schools, media companies and lobbying groups.

James Bikales contributed. Updated at 5:21 p.m.

Tags Chip Roy Coronavirus COVID-19 Debbie Mucarsel-Powell Devin Nunes Donald Trump EDI Associates Kevin Hern KTAK corporation Markwayne Mullin Matt Cartwright McDonald's Mike Kelly Nancy Pelosi Pandemic Paycheck Protection Program ppp Rick Allen Roger Williams Small Business Administration small businesses Treasury Department

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