According to the Associated Press, nearly $275 million of federal aid to combat the deleterious economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic went to more than 100 companies owned or operated by donors to President Trump’s election or reelection efforts. The companies were also some of the fastest to get their requests for federal loans through the Paycheck Protection Program approved — the vast majority of them approved for loans in April, just after the first stimulus package passed.
Only eight companies had to wait until May to receive loans. While other companies struggled to secure loans through the PPP, which set aside about $659 billion to companies that needed assistance paying payroll, rent, and business expenses, Trump donors seemingly had an extremely easy go of it — and were able to secure loans quickly.
While the known loans that were sent to Trump donors doesn’t appear to be the largest slice of the pie re: the PPP, that also might be due to the fact that the administration still refuses to disclose the vast majority of loans that were doled out to businesses. After weeks of saying they wouldn’t disclose any information about PPP loans, the administration finally capitulated and released information on loans that were doled out that were over $150,000, and did not reveal how much money each company received through the program. That means that there’s plenty of information that we don’t know about who got what, given that the vast majority of borrowers from the program received loans under $150,000.
The Trump supporters who the public now knows received loans have, all in all, donated some $11.1 million to the Trump campaign since May 2015, as well as to the Republican National Committee and America First Action, a pro-Trump super PAC. All of the donors who quickly received loans had donated at least $20,000 each to these campaigns.
People who got loans include NewsMax CEO Christopher Ruddy, who got a loan for up to $5 million on April 13 and who donated over half a million dollars to PACs that are pro-Trump. The M Crowd Restaurant group, which owns 27 Texas restaurants, got a loan somewhere between $5 and $10 million — Ray Washburne, a founder of the company, donated $100,000 to the Trump Victory Committee PAC last August and was vice chairman of the PAC in 2017. A law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres, founded by a long-time personal attorney for Trump, got a loan between $5 and $10 million, and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the wife of Mitch McConnell, got a loan for sometime between $350,000 and $1 million for her business. The list goes on and on. So, if you didn’t get a PPP loan, it might be because Trump supports all got them instead — if only we could get a full picture of the data.