June 12, 2020

Harris, Porter Blast Trump Administration for Hiding Data on Small Business Grants

Citing existing federal law, Senator and Congresswoman demand Administration release Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loan recipients and award amounts

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) and U.S. Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) on Friday blasted the Trump Administration for withholding information from the public about a $650 billion program intended to support small businesses. The two demanded release of data about who is receiving forgivable loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and in what amounts.

“PPP loans are meant for small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis– not large, wealthy corporations,” said Harris. “Let’s be clear: we need transparency of PPP loans to ensure those who are abusing the program are held accountable. There is no excuse for the lack of oversight for this program.”

“Millions of Americans are out of work, and many small businesses have shut down with potentially many more to follow. We owe working families transparency about how their tax dollars are being spent to keep businesses open and workers employed,” Porter said. “Trump Administration officials should stop with the bogus legal arguments and fulfill their duty to the American people. Until we have the data, it is impossible to know the extent of the PPP’s problems—or its successes.”

Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin claimed in Senate testimony that information about PPP forgivable loans is “proprietary” and “confidential.” In the letter, Porter and Harris outlined why this argument is patently false and inconsistent with both the goals and nature of the PPP grant program and also the longstanding tradition of releasing similar information about other Section 7(a) small business loans.

Harris and Porter write, “Shielding information about the PPP has no apparent purpose other than perhaps to protect you or the agencies from having to answer to the American people.”

Read the full text of the letter HERE.