SALT LAKE CITY – Representative Ben McAdams says he is “outraged” by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s decision not to disclose information about people who received money from the payment of the $500 billion paycheck protection program.
The paycheck loan program was approved by Congress earlier this year to help small businesses continue to pay their employees during closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mnuchin told a congressional hearing earlier this week that the names of companies that received the loans and the amount they received is “exclusive information.”
“What part of “it’s taxpayers’ money” (Mnuchin) doesn’t understand? These taxes are intended to help Main Street businesses in cities and cities across the country,” McAdams said in a press release. “We know that’s not what’s happening, according to the news accounts of the big companies that get these loans, whereas small business owners have been left out. Transparency, not secrecy, is the only way to keep the faith with citizens that their money comes to those for whom it was intended.
When the protection program was first implemented, it was reported that large companies such as Shake Shack received millions of loans to small businesses, prompting calls for greater transparency and oversight.
McAdams went on to say that the Government Accountability Office, which oversees how taxpayers’ money is used, did not receive the data it requested from the Treasury Department regarding the loan program, although Mnuchin said it would return it during the hearing.
“This raises troubling questions about the lack of transparency and accountability of agencies,” McAdams said.