As the SBA has yet to make public a list of around 4.6 million businesses that received more than $512 billion from the pandemic emergency lending program, the Trump Administration faces demands from government auditors, media companies, public interest groups, and Congress to reveal the data, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), the chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, took to Twitter on Tuesday to say, “We will have PPP loan disclosure.” He added that there is “no dispute over larger loan recipients being disclosed.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “We absolutely need transparency. As it relates to the names and amounts of specific PPP loans, we believe that that is proprietary information and in many cases, for sole proprietors and small businesses, is confidential information.”
Mr. Mnuchin added that he looks to talk to senators and other officials “on a bipartisan basis to strike the appropriate balance for proper oversight of #ppploans and appropriate protection of small business information.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.) publicly asked the Treasury Department to supply the pandemic Response Accountability Committee with more accurate information, as the panel reported no access to PPP and other program data. A spokesman for Mr. Shelby said, “American taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being spent.”
Now, the SBA faces a lawsuit from a number of companies, including Dow Jones & Co., over a violation of the Freedom of Information Act, as the agency has failed to release loan data. The lawsuit states, “the public interest in contemporaneously monitoring the disbursement of billions of taxpayer dollars.”
On June 12 the SBA claimed it had no legal obligation to release some of the requested information.