The Paycheck Protection Program was meant to help small businesses keep employees on the payroll for up to eight weeks at the height of the pandemic last spring and summer, but larger businesses claimed a majority of the funds, according to data released late Tuesday.
More than 50% of the PPP money went to just 5% of the aid recipients, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, and 25% of the funds went to just 1% of the recipients. About 600 large companies – including national chains such as P.F. Chang’s and TGI Friday’s, as well as a law firm run by Marc Kasowitz, President Trump's personal lawyer – received loans of $10 million, the maximum amount allowed in the $525 billion program.
At the other end of the scale, loans of $150,000 and less accounted for 87% of the total loans made, but less than 30% of the total in dollar terms.
“The data shows that this program primarily benefited the well banked and well lawyered at the expense of the small businesses it was supposed to benefit,” Liz Hempowicz, director of public policy for the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight, told the Post.
The Small Business Administration, which ran the program, had sought to keep the loan data confidential, but a federal judge ordered it to be released. Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court in Washington said last month that “the weighty public interest in disclosure easily overcomes the far narrower privacy interest of borrowers who collectively received billions of taxpayer dollars in loans.”