Companies associated with these GOP politicians had their loans canceled from the pandemic loan program
Conservative politicians have condemned President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive some student debt. U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., said it would be unfair to people who haven’t taken out a loan or have already paid off theirs. U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., said relief should not be borne by farmers, ranchers and teachers. And the House Judiciary GOP tweeted, “If you take out a loan, you pay it back. Period.”
That’s when the plan’s supporters, including the White House itself, hit back with what they suggested was evidence of Republican hypocrisy: screenshots of Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness that would have benefited those same members of Congress.
“Republican Members of Congress Whose PPP Loans Have Been Canceled,” read an August 24 Instagram post that listed the names of 13 members of Congress, including Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. .. Next to each name was a federal loan amount of thousands or millions of dollars that would have been canceled under this pandemic-era program.
The list is a Twitter screenshot of a tweet made by the Center for American Progress Action, a left-leaning public policy think tank. The organization was responding to a post from the House Judiciary GOP’s Twitter account that read, “If you take out a loan, you pay it back. Period.”
The Instagram post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news and misinformation on its News Feed. Instagram is owned by Facebook’s parent company, Meta. (Learn more about our partnership with Facebook.)
In this case, the post checks.
Comparing the Paycheck Protection Program to Student Debt Cancellation doesn’t quite parallel, because business loans were designed to be forgiven as long as the money is spent on related costs and expenses. to the pandemic.
U.S. Representative Ralph Norman, RS.C., whose companies have had their loans forgiven, said it “takes a special kind of idiocy to equate (cancellation of student debt) with PPP.
“PPP helped people stay employed when the government literally shut down a lot of the economy,” Norman said.
Bharat Ramamurti, deputy director of the president’s National Economic Council, told reporters the comparison was fair and that Republicans were following a double standard.
The Instagram post and original tweet do not name a source for the loan amounts. But other social media users used a database set up by nonprofit news organization ProPublica that tracks businesses that have received loans from the program.
ProPublica’s database was made up of information obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests from the US Small Business Administration, which implemented the Paycheck Protection Program with the Treasury Department.
The program, established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, aka CARES, began in March 2020 to help small businesses affected by COVID-19 cover salaries and, in some cases, rehire employees who have been fired. Businesses across the country have received $787.2 billion in loans, the Small Business Administration said.
Lawmakers are not barred from participating in the Paycheck Protection Program, and politicians on both sides of the political aisle have received loans for their businesses.
We researched businesses linked to politicians listed in the Instagram post with ProPublica’s database and found that the post’s numbers were mostly accurate. There were discrepancies for two people who, according to the database, took more loans from the program than the screenshot indicated.
Gaetz is a shareholder in Caregivers Inc., based in Pensacola, Fla., which received a $475,932 loan from the Paycheck Protection Program.
Before taking office in January 2021, Marjorie Taylor Greene and her husband, Perry Greene, purchased Taylor Commercial Inc., a construction company owned by her family in Alpharetta, Georgia. The company took out a loan of $182,300 under the program.
Rep. Gregory Pence, R-Ind., brother of former Vice President Mike Pence, owned two antique shopping malls in Indiana organized under Pence Group LLC. He received a loan of $79,441.
Auto dealerships owned by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., before he took office in January 2021, also took out loans under the COVID-era program. Sarasota 500 LLC, which operates Sarasota Ford in Florida, received a $2.32 million loan; Nissan of Elizabeth City, North Carolina secured a $384,200 loan. The government waived both loans for a total of $2.6 million.
KTAK Corp., a restaurant management company co-owned by Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., had a $1.07 million loan canceled by the government.
Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, owns a car dealership in Texas through JRW Corp. in Fort Worth which received a $1.43 million loan.
Trace Die Cast, a Bowling Green, Ky., company founded by Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky.’s father, received a $4.3 million loan.
Four Pennsylvania car dealerships owned by Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., received a total of $974,100 in Paycheck Protection Program loans, according to the ProPublica database. Mike Kelly Automotive, LP received $197,300, Mike Kelly Automotive Group Inc. received $327,500, Mike Kelly Hyundai received $180,800 and Mike Kelly Chevrolet received $268,500.
Heartland Tractor Co., a farm equipment company owned by Rep. Vicki Hartzler, R-Mo., and her husband, received a $451,200 loan.
Five car dealerships owned by Rep. Carol Miller’s husband, RW.Va., received a total of $3.1 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans. Loans to DM Motor, Dutch Miller Chevrolet, Dutch Miller Subaru, Dutch Miller of Charleston and Dutch Miller of Charlotte have all been cancelled.
The Instagram post differed for the Paycheck Protection Program amount Mullin received. The post claims he received $988,700, when ProPublica reported he received at least $1.44 million at four of his companies – Mullin Environmental, Mullin Plumbing, Mullin Plumbing West Division and Mullin Services.
The Instagram post said Norman, a practicing member of 23 different companies, was receiving $306,520 in Paycheck Protection Program loans. However, ProPublica found that businesses associated with Norman received even more loan money.
At least three businesses associated with Norman have received four Paycheck Protection Program loans. FM Hotel LLC received $169,100, GBC Rock Hill LLC received $164,900, and Catawba Hotel Associates II received loans of $114,400 and $160,100. In total, businesses associated with Norman received $608,500 in loans.
An Instagram post listed 13 Republican politicians who criticized Biden’s plan to write off student debt but took out Paycheck Protection Program loans that the government forgave.
Businesses owned or associated with the politicians named in the message received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program. Companies linked to two politicians named in the post received more than the Instagram post showed.
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This article was originally published by PolitiFact, part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources here and more of their fact checks here.