A centerpiece of US President Donald Trump’s economic relief program was under renewed scrutiny Tuesday following revelations it aided white-shoe lobbying firms and businesses linked to Kanye West and other billionaires.
… recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans included the PF Chang’s restaurant chain and businesses linked to several members of Congress, according to US media reports….
The program provides forgivable loans to coronavirus-impacted small businesses to cover employee salaries and some expenses…
Architects of the program at the US Treasury Department and Small Business Administration emphasized the need to make money immediately available to embattled companies.
That led to heavy criticism after large, publicly traded firms such as Ruth’s Chris steakhouse snagged loans from the program, which had been pitched as a savior for mom-and-pop businesses.
The Treasury Department subsequently tightened the rules to exclude larger companies with access to funds from public markets.
The Trump administration defended the program Monday as it released identifying data on firms accounting for about 75 percent of the more than $520 billion lent so far. The administration had resisted releasing the information, but relented following bipartisan calls for transparency