Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) other morning email thingie:
YOU DOWN WITH PPP? — For months, Washington has whispered about who might be benefiting from the small business loans program, which Congress created to help struggling businesses during the coronavirus crisis. House Democrats even unsuccessfully tried to force disclosure of some of the loan recipients. But now, thanks to newly released data from the Small Business Administration, we know.
At least nine lawmakers and three congressional caucuses have ties to organizations that received aid from the Paycheck Protection Program, for a total of at least $11 million in federal assistance. Overall, 650,000 businesses and nonprofits received money from the $670 billion program, which only released a portion of the loan recipients on Monday after facing intense public pressure and complaints over a lack of transparency.
Among the members who have in some way benefited from the program, but were previously unknown, are Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.), the founder of a construction company; Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), who owns several car dealerships; Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), the owner of multiple McDonald’s franchises; Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), who owns a plumbing business; and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), whose wife is a partner at her family law firm.
Meanwhile, the educational arms for the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus each took loans between $350,000 and $1 million. And the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, which is associated with the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, also accepted a loan in the same range.
It’s not illegal for lawmakers to apply for or accept PPP money, and members emphasized that they had no role in the application process and that the companies took the loans legally in an effort to keep people employed. But the program’s connections to Congress have raised new questions about the administration’s secrecy of the program, as well as potential conflicts of interest ahead of the next coronavirus rescue package.
Of course they are quick to note that it is not illegal: they wrote the eff’ing bill themselves.
The Daily Beast has more:
Other outlets had no such compunctions. Records show $350,000 to $1 million went to Observer Holdings LLC, the parent entity of Observer Media—the publishing company formerly owned by White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner. Kushner resigned from the news organization before decamping to Washington, D.C. in 2017, but it has remained in the family: Joseph Meyer, wedded to Kushner’s sister, Nicole, lists it among the holdings of his Observer Capital investment firm. The federal assistance preserved 41 jobs, according to the SBA.
The Observer was not the only Kushner family business to take advantage of the PPP program. Two of the family’s New Jersey hotels also cashed in. The SBA materials show that $1 million to $2 million in assistance went to Princeton Forrestal LLC—revealed in Security and Exchange Commission records to be 40 percent owned by the former developer’s mother, brother, and sister. Esplanade Livingston LLC, which owns the land on which the company’s Westminster Hotel sits, received another $350,000 to $1 million. Mortgage documents filed in Essex County, New Jersey show that Esplanade Livingston LLC is controlled by C.K. Livingston LLC, a company that bears the initials of Jared Kushner’s father Charles—and which the former disclosed in 2017 as a source of personal income from the hotel.
Gotta keep Jar-Jar up to his neck in Ameros if he’s gonna keep The First Shady happy. Who else? Black Studies scholar Tucker Carlson, TeeVee Dinner heir, that’s who!
Meanwhile, the conservative online media outlet founded by Trump confidante and Fox News host Tucker Carlson, the Daily Caller, received as much as $1 million. Carlson sold his stake in the company on June 10. And Newsmax, the conservative TV network and website owned by another presidential confidante, Christopher Ruddy, got a loan worth $2 million to $5 million.
Ayn Rand is rolling in her grave over this next one, but of course she was also a big fan of the social safety net in her later, grasping, years:
Among the entities cashing six to seven-figure checks from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program in recent months were a fiscal responsibility advocacy organization run by anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist.
UPDATE 1: Vanity Fair
The family business of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao—who is married to McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader—received as much as $1 million in taxpayer dollars, as well.
The trucking company founded by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdueand bearing his name got between $150,000 and $300,000.