USA: Large corona aid for "small" companies
by Bulgan Molor-Erdene
Some companies get millions, others only a dollar. Trump's network also benefits
[This article published on 7/14/2020 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.heise.de/tp/features/USA-Grosse-Corona-Hilfen-fuer-kleine-Unternehmen-4841916.html.]
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan program under the US government's two trillion dollar Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The program provides loans to companies with 500 or fewer employees that do not have to be repaid under certain conditions. It is aimed at businesses, the self-employed, small businesses, non-profit organizations and tribal businesses and is designed to help them continue to pay their employees. Overall, it is one of the largest economic stimulus packages in the world.
A number of provisions are designed to ensure that the money provides the incentive to safeguard jobs. If companies maintain their employment and remuneration levels from the time before the Covid 19 pandemic, loans do not have to be repaid. Similarly, loans will be completely waived if the previous number of employees is reinstated through reinstatement. This is one of the most important measures in the CARES package, given the millions who have lost their jobs and are looking for work again. It is funded by taxpayers' money. So far, some 4.9 million loans have been granted, with an average of 7,000.
Last week, the Small Business Administration and the US Treasury Department published a list of the recipients of 660,000 PPP loans with a total volume of over 600 billion US dollars. The list contains only those companies and non-profit organizations that have received at least 0,000 in grants. That is less than 15 percent of the total number of those who have received a loan at all. The list, which the Washington Post has compiled into a searchable database, also includes some of the law firms and organizations associated with Donald Trump:
The law firm of Kasowitz Benson Torres, founded and run by Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, received a loan between and 10 million. Kasowitz and his firm represented Trump during the Mueller investigations. Trump has entrusted the company, which has annual sales of over 0 million, with the firm for decades.
The New York law firm of draftsman Ellman & Krause, whose partner is Trump's impeachment attorney Robert Ray, received a PPP loan of between and million.
Harder LLP, Trump's law firm for lawsuits against media companies and book publishers, received a loan between 0,000 and 0,000.
The New York firm Spears & Imes, which represents Trump, three of his children and his company The Trump Organization in various cases, received a PPP loan relief between 0,000 and million.
The non-profit American Center for Law and Justice, whose lead counsel is Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, received between and million. Sekulow also defended Trump during the Mueller investigations and during the impeachment proceedings.
The billionaire real estate developer Joe Farrell, Trump's prominent fundraiser, received up to million. Phunware, a data analysis company working for Trump's campaign this year, received .85 million - almost 28 times the average PPP loan.
Dozens of tenants in buildings owned or managed by Trump received funds. More than 20 companies registered at 40 Wall Street, an office building Trump has owned since the mid-1990s, have also reportedly received government loans of at least million. Among the recipients were law firms, financial services companies and non-profit organizations.
Churches affiliated with Trump and other organizations associated with current or former Trump evangelical advisers have received loans of at least .3 million. City of Destiny, the church in Florida that Trump's personal pastor and faith adviser Paula White-Cain from the White House calls home, received between 0,000 and 0,000. First Baptist Dallas, led by Trump's ally and senior pastor Robert Jeffress, received between and million. Other loan recipients included several churches and organizations that joined Trump's Evangelical Advisory Council during the 2016 campaign.
American Media, the publisher of the National Enquirer, received a loan from Bank of America Corp. in April in the amount of to million. American Media is led by Trump's longtime friend David Pecker. American Media is also owned by Chatham Asset Management, a New Jersey-based hedge fund that manages approximately billion.
Esplanade Livingston, a company owned by Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who owns the land in Livingston, N.J., where the family's Westminster Hotel is located, received between 0,000 and million. Esplanade Livingston has the same address as Kushner Companies, the real estate company.
Princeton Forrestal, a real estate company owned by various members of the Kushner family, except Jared Kushner himself, received a loan of between million and million. It is at least 40 percent owned by members of the Kushner family.
The New York Observer, the news website that Kushner ran before he moved into the White House and is still owned by Kunsher's brother-in-law's investment firm, was approved for 0,000 to million. In addition, up to million was approved for the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, a non-profit religious school in Livingston, N.J., named after Jared Kushner's grandfather and supported by the family.
Some companies only receive one dollar
Restaurants, medical practices and car dealerships are among the main recipients of the loans. More than 40,000 restaurants with full or limited service received loans worth up to 32 billion dollars in total.
But John Arensmeyer, chairman of the Small Business Majority, criticized the non-transparent distribution of the funds as well as the large differences in the amount of the loans. "Nationwide, more than 21,800 small businesses, many of them with several employees, received a loan of less than ,000," Arensmeyer said in a statement. "More than 1,200 of these companies received less than 0 - some received loans of only .00!"
On the other hand, those organizations also receive money from the state, which are among the vehement opponents of state aid. The Ayn Rand Institute, named after the libertarian thinker Ayn Rand, received a loan of between 350,000 and 1 million dollars, which it described as "partial reimbursement for losses caused by the government". The think tank Citizens Against Government Waste, one of the country's most prominent voices against state social benefits and most recently a critic of the CARES law, also took up between 0,000 and 0,000 of the PPP funds. (Bulgan Molor-Erdene)