WASHINGTON, D.C. New reporting from the Associated Press this morning revealed that the Trump administration gave a huge gift to 75 publicly-traded companies: a whopping $300 million in Small Business Administration (SBA) paycheck protection grants.

As small business owners across the country are lamenting being boxed out of the process to obtain Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and keep their operations afloat, a group of publicly-traded companies valued at over $100 million sucked up hundreds of millions in limited, valuable financial support for themselves.

“Whether it’s mismanagement or malpractice, the Trump administration’s failure to allocate funds properly means thousands of small businesses won’t receive the funding necessary to support their employees. Meanwhile, a bunch of publicly-traded companies worth hundreds of millions got a cash infusion and are sitting pretty,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “Paycheck protection grants are supposed to support workers and their families during this economic crisis, not line the pockets of corporate executives.”


By combing through thousands of regulatory filings, the AP identified the 75 companies as recipients of a combined $300 million in low-interest, taxpayer-backed loans.

Eight companies, or their subsidiaries, received the maximum $10 million. The size of the typical loan nationally was $206,000, according to U.S. Small Business Administration statistics.


AP’s review also found examples of companies that had foreign owners and that were delisted from U.S. stock exchanges, or threatened with removal, because of their poor performance. Other companies had annual losses for years.


The owners behind large restaurants chains like Potbelly, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Taco Cabana were able to qualify despite employing thousands of workers and get the maximum $10 million in loans.

Some other big companies that received loans appeared to have enough cash on hand to survive the economic downturn. New York City-based Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, for example, a travel company with 650 workers and a branding deal with National Geographic, got a $6.6 million loan. At the end of March, the business reported having about $137 million in cash on its balance sheet.


Five of the companies AP identified were previously under investigation by financial and other regulators, including firms that paid penalties to resolve allegations.


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