A centerpiece of US President Donald Trump’s economic relief program was under renewed scrutiny Tuesday following revelations it aided white-shoe lobbying firms and businesses linked to Kanye West and other billionaires.
Besides West’s Yeezy brand and law firms connected to famed trial lawyer David Boies and Trump defense attorney Mark Kasowitz, recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans included the PF Chang’s restaurant chain and businesses linked to several members of Congress, according to US media reports.
The controversy is the latest to befall the PPP, which was launched in April as a key job-saving program in the immediate wake of coronavirus shutdowns that shuttered countless businesses and led to tens of millions of layoffs.
The program provides forgivable loans to coronavirus-impacted small businesses to cover employee salaries and some expenses.
“The PPP is providing much-needed relief to millions of American small businesses, supporting more than 51 million jobs and over 80 percent of all small business employees, who are the drivers of economic growth in our country,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
But the latest revelations seem certain to amplify questions about how the program has been administered.
The recipients include the Church of Scientology.
Plus various businesses connected to the family of Jared Kushner, a White House advisor and the husband of First Daughter Ivanka Trump, and Foremost Group, a shipping business owned by the family of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.