The Trump administration says it will disclose details about companies that received loans of more than $150,000 from a coronavirus relief program for small business, following a backlash for its earlier refusal to release data about which firms got the billions of dollars in government aid.
The company names, addresses and other information from businesses that received Paycheck Protection Program loans of more than $150,000 will be disclosed in five ranges starting with loans worth $150,000 to $350,000 and going up to between $5 million and $10 million, the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration said in a joint release.
For loans below $150,000, only totals will be released aggregated by ZIP code, by industry, by business type and by various demographic categories, the agencies said. The loans above $150,000 account for almost 75% of the total loan dollars approved, they said.
Lawmakers and business groups had been demanding the release of details about PPP after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a Senate committee hearing June 10 that the names of companies that received forgivable loans and the amounts were proprietary or confidential — even though the administration had previously said the details would be disclosed and the PPP application says such data will “automatically” be released.
“I am pleased that we have been able to reach a bipartisan agreement on disclosure which will strike the appropriate balance of providing public transparency, while protecting the payroll and personal income information of small businesses, sole proprietors, and independent contractors,” Mnuchin said in a statement.
The SBA reported that as of Friday night, loans had been approved for almost 4.7 million small businesses totaling $514.5 billion. Critics said the public has a right to know how taxpayer dollars were used and that more detail is needed to know whether PPP is serving businesses that need help.
“The administration’s decision to hide basic PPP loan data is a disturbing sign of its lack of concern for who gets this funding, how much they receive or why,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a June 12 statement. “The administration must immediately reverse this decision and uphold its obligation to release this data.”
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, chairman of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, had signaled that a deal was imminent with a tweet on Friday saying “we are close to a process on disclosure” of loans “that would provide taxpayers the transparency they are entitled to while addressing the concerns raised” by some owners.
Lawmakers have also called on the Treasury Department and the SBA to provide details about its coronavirus relief loans to the Government Accountability Office, which is preparing a report about how relief dollars were spent.
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