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Friday, July 10, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program Recipients

Alex Gangitano at The Hill:
Dozens of organizations that lobby the federal government received loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides funds to small businesses and nonprofits struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Trump administration released data on Monday about the recipients of the small-business loans, which are forgivable if the money is used for payroll, mortgage, rent and utilities and the recipient maintains employee and compensation levels.
Trade associations, professional societies and local chambers of commerce — all of which are classified as 501(c)(6) organizations — are not eligible for the program. But many groups that conduct lobbying are classified as nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations and were allowed to apply.

Trade groups have lobbied Congress to make changes to the program, which was part of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill Congress passed in March, so they can be included as well.
APCO WorldWide, a lobbying firm, received more than $5 million in loans. The company was hired by five clients in 2020, totaling $40,000. Clients included the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints and China Ocean Shipping Co., according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Lobbying firm Waxman Consulting, where former Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) serves as chairman, received at least $350,000 in loans. The firm has made more than $182,000 so far in 2020 and has nine clients, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Good Food Institute.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation received at least $350,000 in loans. The organization has spent $10,000 on lobbying expenditures in 2020 and has three in-house lobbyists, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, the non-lobbying arm of Americans for Tax Reform, received a loan of at least $150,000.
Here are some of the recipients of P.P.P. money that may raise eyebrows:
  • Investment firms that manage billions, including Semper Capital Management, Domini Impact Investments and Brevet Holdings.
  • At least 45 major law firms, including Boies Schiller Flexner, Kasowitz Benson Torres and Wiley Rein.
  • Some companies connected to federal lawmakers or their families, including the Republican representatives Markwayne Mullin and Devin Nunes and the Republican senator Susan Collins (whose brothers’ business later returned its loan), as well as Ms. Collins’s Democratic challenger, Sara Gideon.
  • Several start-ups that still laid off employees.
  • The Ayn Rand Institute, which is dedicated to the anti-statist philosopher, and an arm of Americans for Tax Reform, the group founded by the famously anti-tax activist Grover Norquist.
ReeseDunklin and Michael Rezendes at AP:
The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups.
The church’s haul may have reached -- or even exceeded -- $3.5 billion, making a global religious institution with more than a billion followers among the biggest winners in the U.S. government’s pandemic relief efforts, an Associated Press analysis of federal data released this week found.
Houses of worship and faith-based organizations that promote religious beliefs aren’t usually eligible for money from the U.S. Small Business Administration. But as the economy plummeted and jobless rates soared, Congress let faith groups and other nonprofits tap into the Paycheck Protection Program, a $659 billion fund created to keep main street open and Americans employed.
By aggressively promoting the payroll program and marshaling resources to help affiliates navigate its shifting rules, Catholic dioceses, parishes, schools and other ministries have so far received approval for at least 3,500 forgivable loans, AP found.
The Archdiocese of New York, for example, received 15 loans worth at least $28 million just for its top executive offices. Its iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue was approved for at least $1 million.