In a 180-degree turn, the Trump administration now says it will release the names of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) recipients and the amount of taxpayer-funded loans they received from the $660 billion in aid for small businesses.
“I am pleased that we have been able to reach a bipartisan agreement on disclosure which will strike the appropriate balance of providing public transparency, while protecting the payroll and personal income information of small businesses, sole proprietors, and independent contractors,” said Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement.
Earlier this month, Mnuchin told the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship that the names of loan recipients and the amounts are “proprietary.”
But critics fought back, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York), who challenged the Treasury.
“Given the many problems with the PPP program, it is imperative American taxpayers know if the money is going where Congress intended, to the truly small and unbanked small business,” said Schumer, CNBC reported.
But on Friday (June 19), the Secretary and the Small Business Administration (SBA), the federal agency that manages PPP, reversed course.
SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said the agency values transparency and has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure taxpayer funds are spent wisely.
“This responsibility goes together with the steps we are now taking to provide needed public information while protecting entrepreneurs’ personally identifiable information, such as a home address associated with their business loan,” he said in a statement. “Small businesses are the driving force of our economic stability and are leading the way to allow our nation to rebound safely.”
As of June 12, the PPP has provided 4.5 million businesses with $512 billion in assistance, according to data released by the Treasury on Friday.
Nearly $55 billion went to 2.98 million companies and 65 percent of applicants received a loan of $50,000 and under. The single biggest category was loans between $350,000 to $1 million that went to 197,277 firms, totaling $112 billion, or 22 percent of the total provided.
The top five states receiving loans were California at $66.6 billion, Texas at $40 billion, New York in third at $37 billion, Florida fourth with $30 billion and Pennsylvania in fifth at $20 billion.
Among the sectors, the top five to get revised loans included healthcare at 12.9 percent; professional, scientific and technical services at 12.7 percent; construction at 12.4 percent, manufacturing at 10.4 percent and accommodation and food services at 8 percent.
The Treasury Department said there’s $129.7 billion remaining in the PPP fund.