Capitol Hill cashes in on coronavirus loans, PPP money goes to congressional members, foundations

Law firms, media outlets among other recipients.

Updated: July 7, 2020 - 1:24pm

Millions of dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program passed this spring on Capitol Hill, then signed by President Trump have gone to groups linked to influential congressional caucuses and their members. 

The PPP was established as part of the Congress' Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, passed in response to the economic crisis created by the virus pandemic and economic shutdown through much of the country. 

Among the Capitol Hill-related groups to get the money were the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, all received loans of at least $350,000, according to a report released Monday by the Small Business Administration. 

Unemployment reached historic levels in April and May as millions of Americans filed for benefits after being let go from their jobs. The PPP offers loans to help businesses cover their payroll expenses, with the loans being potentially forgivable if recipients keep their employees on-staff and do not reduce their wages. 

Yet numerous have also gone to companies run by members of Congress.

Republican Rep. Mike Kelly received as much as $3 million in loans to help cover payroll at his car dealerships in Pennsylvania. Texas Democratic House candidate Christine Mann was given a nearly-$30,000 loan to help cover her campaign expenses while she worked in the medical field during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The government last week extended the window in which one can apply for a loan under the program, giving potential borrowers until August to request funds. 

Unemployment remains above 11% throughout the country according to the latest numbers. Some public officials have suggested that future coronavirus spikes or outbreaks could necessitate additional economic shutdowns, a decision that would likely send the unemployment rate spiraling upwards again. 

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