(The Center Square) – As more information is released about recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program, congressional Republicans have called for a fraud investigation into how hundreds of unions received $36 million. dollars in forgivable loans.
In Pennsylvania, about $1.2 million in PPP loans were claimed by unions when they were unable to legally receive funds. The government has yet to investigate exactly how the loans were approved.
PPP loans were issued quickly by the Small Business Administration at the start of the pandemic to avoid mass layoffs. Yet the speed with which $800 billion of taxpayers’ money was dispensed left the program vulnerable to waste, fraud and abuse. An NBC News investigation valued the cost of the fraud to 80 billion dollars, or 10% of the overall fund. That’s on top of a $900 billion COVID-19 relief fund that may have been defrauded of $90 billion to $400 billion.
“Even if the highest estimates are inflated, the total fraud in all COVID relief funds amounts to a staggering amount of taxpayers’ money that could rival the $579 billion in federal funds included in the massive relief plan. President Joe Biden’s 10-year infrastructure spending,” Ken Dilanian and Laura Strickler wrote.
PPP loans were for businesses only, but unions were able to get millions of dollars nationwide, like The Center Square Previously reported. In Pennsylvania, the following unions received loans:
PA AFL-CIO ($267,762).
- The Training and Education Fund ($187,900).
Local 66 AFL-CIO Operations Engineers ($180,100 in 2021).
Local 66 AFL-CIO Operations Engineers ($180,100 in 2020).
- UFCW Local 1776 ($171,822).
Teamsters Local #77 ($86,900).
IBEW Local 375 ($46,880).
IATSE Local 489 ($40,251 in 2021).
- IATSE Local 489 ($28,400 in 2020).
Graphic Communications Union Local 4C ($23,100).
Now Congressional Republicans Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri, Rick Allen of Georgia and Beth Van Duyne of Texas sent a letter to the SBA requesting an investigation into how these entities were approved. In it, they request information on the number of labor organizations that have received PPP loans, the total dollar amount of those loans, and ask the SBA to report on its audit process on the loans.
The letter comes after a report from the Freedom Foundation highlighted the loans. An SBA inspector general also reported these issues to the administration, recommending that the SBA “evaluate internal control vulnerabilities and strengthen or implement internal controls necessary to address ineligible loans and potential fraud.”