While Congress continues to dither over distributing another stimulus check to members of the American public during a pandemic that has stuttered the economy and left many unemployed and unable to meet the cost of their basic needs, it’s become increasingly clear that the Paycheck Protection Program—ostensibly meant to support workers in small businesses—has been a site for all kinds of scamming.
Though Black and Latino businesses were disproportionately denied loans from the $650 billion relief fund, an analysis by NBC News now reveals that a number of hate groups were successful in receiving over $4 million total in PPP relief.
Fourteen organizations designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Anti-Defamation League as hate groups were identified as receiving funds under the program. Among the recipients of taxpayer money was the New Century Foundation, the publishers of a magazine that promotes views that Black people are inferior to white people, that there is “more psychopathic behavior among blacks,” and that America should be a white homeland.
From NBC News:
The groups that received funds also include American Family Association, a group that opposes what its leaders describe as the “homosexual agenda.” It received $1,390,800 in PPP funds. The Federation for American Immigration Reform, known as FAIR, an anti-immigration group founded by leaders that hold ties to white supremacists, also was awarded $683,680 from the relief program.
Among the anti-LGBT groups that received relief funds is Church Militant, an organization that runs a media operation that advocates for so-calledgay conversion therapies and links homosexuality to pedophilia, reaching large followings across Facebook, YouTube and on its own website. The group received a $301,100 PPP loan, according to SBA data.
Only 57 people have been charged with fraud under the PPP, according to the Washington Post, mostly for using the funds to purchase luxury items.
Other recipients of the fund include associates of President Trump, with Bloomberg News reporting that money was doled out to businesses owned by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, as well as his lawyer Marc Kasowitz. Massive companies like the Los Angeles Lakers and Shake Shack pledged to return the millions they received in PPP money after public outrage.
In the case of the hate groups that received federal funds to support the continuance of their bigoted missions, the SBA seemed to defend its decision to grant them loans.
“SBA takes seriously its stewardship of taxpayer dollars and has designed a robust loan review process to ensure that only eligible borrowers received loans that fully complied with program requirements,” an SBA spokesperson said to NBC News.
The Paycheck Protection Program distributed forgivable loans totaling over $521 billion before closing to applications this summer.