Congressional Republicans call on SBA to investigate how unions improperly received COVID relief

Congressional Republicans call on SBA to investigate how unions improperly received COVID relief

Congressional Republicans call on SBA to investigate how unions improperly received COVID relief

Citing Freedom Foundation research, the GOP leaders of four committees in the U.S. House of Representatives last week sent a letter to the head of the Small Business Administration (SBA) seeking information about how labor unions were able to receive forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for which they were ineligible.

In a February report, the Freedom Foundation documented that, between March 2020 and March 2021, more than 200 labor unions and related nonprofit entities received in excess of $36 million through the SBA-administered PPP loans despite being ineligible on the basis of their tax-exempt status.

During this period, PPP loans — intended to help keep small business afloat during the government-mandated COVID lockdowns — were generally only available to 501(c)(3) nonprofits.

Labor unions, as 501(c)(5) nonprofits, did not qualify.

In a joint statement, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), ranking member of the Education and Labor Committee; Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), ranking member of the Small Business Committee; Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.), ranking member of the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee; and, Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas), ranking member of the Oversight, Investigations and Regulations Subcommittee expressed concern over the Freedom Foundation’s findings and called on the SBA to investigate further:

“It is concerning that PPP funds were distributed to entities other than small businesses and designated non-profit organizations. The illegal entry of at least 226 labor, teachers, and government unions into the Paycheck Protection Program demands an investigation. Ensuring American tax dollars are used responsibly and correctly is essential in our duty to the American people and our small businesses. We hope the SBA will be able to shed some light on this important issue.”

Their letter to SBA administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman demands additional information about PPP loans to 501(c)(5) labor organizations by April 20.

Given the likelihood of finding fraud in the applications for forgivable PPP loans, the Freedom Foundation has also submitted the results of its research to the SBA Inspector General and to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud.

Director of Research and Government Affairs
As the Freedom Foundation’s Director of Research and Government Affairs, Maxford Nelsen leads the team working to advance the Freedom Foundation’s mission through strategic research, public policy advocacy, and labor relations. Max regularly testifies on labor issues before legislative bodies and his research has formed the basis of several briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court. Max’s work has been published in local newspapers around the country and in national outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Hill, National Review, and the American Spectator. His work on labor policy issues has been featured in media outlets like the New York Times, Fox News, and PBS News Hour. He is a frequent guest on local radio stations like 770 KTTH and 570 KVI. From 2019-21, Max was a presidential appointee to the Federal Service Impasses Panel within the Federal Labor Relations Authority, which resolves contract negotiation disputes between federal agencies and labor unions. Prior to joining the Freedom Foundation in 2013, Max worked for and the Washington Policy Center and interned with the Heritage Foundation. Max holds a labor relations certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated magna cum laude from Whitworth University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. A Washington native, he lives in Olympia with his wife and sons.