Trump Allows Federal Officials Access To PPP Funds Despite Conflicts of Interest

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Federal officials could apply for the Payment Protection Program despite potential conflicts of interest.

The Trump Administration issued a “blanket approval” allowing staff of the Small Business Administration, certain federal employees and lawmakers to apply for PPP funding without gaining approval from the SBA’s Standards of Conduct Committee, according to the Washington Post.

Those excused from gaining SBA approval are typically individuals who undergo increased scrutiny because they play a direct role in writing the rules determining who gets access to funds from the SBA. Consequently, these individuals, such as lawmakers and SBA staff, could have written the rules dictating access to PPP funds in a way that benefitted themselves.

For example, Representative Susie Lee of Nevada played a key role in deciding which businesses were eligible for PPP funds and introduced suggestions that would extend benefits to her husband’s business. More Specifically, Representative Lee pushed for casinos to be eligible for PPP funds, thereby extending eligibility to Full House Resorts, a Las Vegas casino owned by her husband.

“The idea that the Small Business Administration can, without any review or publicity, secretly let all of its employees arrange loans for their family members or associates is outrageous,” Josh Gotbaum, a researcher at the Brookings Institution, said.

Read full story here.

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