It wasn’t like we weren’t expecting the most corrupt administration in modern history not to personally profit from the pandemic Paycheck Protection Program.
When the government starts handing out money, the politically connected Washington DC insiders know the ropes and can get to the trough quicker than the average small business owner.
But the extent to which the program — meant to help small business owners and their employees survive the long lockdown period when the economy dropped to a standstill — was exploited by wealthy members of the political elite and their friends and associates is still both shocking and disturbing.
The Daily Beast detailed some of the most egregious instances of tax-payer funded bailouts to the politically well-connected Washington DC insiders of both parties in a new article today as the first details of the recipients of the congressionally-approved program began to emerge this morning.
“Among the entities cashing six to seven-figure checks from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program in recent months were a fiscal responsibility advocacy organization run by anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, a high-powered consulting firm run by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the nonprofit headed by former Trump campaign official David Bossie, and a political strategy firm linked to two alumni of the Obama White House who’ve turned anti-Trump podcasting into a lucrative enterprise,” The Daily Beast reports.
Unsurprisingly, presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and his family had their fingers in the pie as well.
“Records show $350,000 to $1 million went to Observer Holdings LLC, the parent entity of Observer Media—the publishing company formerly owned by White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner. Kushner resigned from the news organization before decamping to Washington, D.C. in 2017, but it has remained in the family: Joseph Meyer, wedded to Kushner’s sister Nicole, lists it among the holdings of his Observer Capital investment firm,” the article states.
“The Observer was not the only Kushner family business to take advantage of the PPP program. Two of the family’s New Jersey hotels also cashed in. The SBA materials show that $1 million to $2 million in assistance went to Princeton Forrestal LLC—revealed in Security and Exchange Commission records to be 40 percent owned by the former developer’s mother, brother, and sister. Esplanade Livingston LLC, which owns the land on which the company’s Westminster Hotel sits, received another $350,000 to $1 million. Mortgage documents filed in Essex County, New Jersey show that Esplanade Livingston LLC is controlled by C.K. Livingston LLC, a company that bears the initials of Jared Kushner’s father Charles—and which the former disclosed in 2017 as a source of personal income from the hotel,” it continues.
Other figures in the Trump orbit also skillfully navigated the federal bureaucracy sufficiently to rake in copious PPP bucks.
“Meanwhile, the conservative online media outlet founded by Trump confidante and Fox News host Tucker Carlson, the Daily Caller, received as much as $1 million. Carlson sold his stake in the company on June 10. And Newsmax, the conservative TV network and website owned by another presidential confidante, Christopher Ruddy, got a loan worth $2 million to $5 million,” The Daily Beast reveals.
The figures released by the government today makes it apparent that those with experience in sailing the choppy waters of federal procedures and regulations had little trouble squeezing every penny they could from the Paycheck Protection Program, while small businesses on Main Street continued to face barriers to participating in the financial lifeline.
Perhaps Congress should have set the regulations for the program more tightly to prevent those whose businesses could survive without government assistance from having access to dollars meant to keep small business owners from insolvency.
It is understandable, however, that in the rush to provide immediate assistance to struggling businesses, not every possible contingency could have been anticipated.
Now, however, there is no excuse for those people and companies with the existing means to not reimburse the government for their largesse.
You can read the entire Daily Beast article with the rest of the details of those Washington insiders who took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program right here.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.