Unaccountable Program Becomes More Unaccountable

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

We don't know how many jobs the Paycheck Protection Program has supposedly saved and we don't know if the Small Business Administration is even tracking that information.

We also don't know who has received funds from the program and we may never know until the a new administration takes office.

The Treasury and Small Business Administration are refusing to disclose who has received over $500 billion in funds.

“As it relates to the names and amounts of specific PPP loans, we believe that that’s proprietary information, and in many cases for sole proprietors and small businesses, it is confidential information,” Mnuchin said in the hearing. “The reason why we’re not disclosing the names and amounts, unlike in the 7(a) program, is because of that issue.” [...]

The Post is among 11 news organizations suing the SBA for access to records on loan recipients, amounts of loans and other basic information the agency has previously released. In response to questions from The Post on Wednesday, a Treasury Department spokesman said that disclosing “loan-level data” would risk the confidential business information of loan recipients.

I am not entirely fluent in cyborg financial speak, but Mnuchin appears to saying that disclosing who has received funds would violate corporate secrecy and possibly damage their value.

He may be right about that for all I know, but that shouldn't be the government's concern. It isn't the Treasury secretary's duty to protect company secrecy or value. Mnuchin is the secretary for the public, not for private companies.

We aren't going to get a full accounting of what we spent in response to the coronavirus, or where all the money went, until Trump is out of office. For as much as the Trump regime eventually discloses, they will drag their feet on a dozen other things.

  • muselet

    Charlie Pierce:

    “Proprietary information”? Does Mnuchin think that the 500-bil is some sort of widget that the Treasury Department invented? In one sense, of course, the money is “proprietary information” and we’re the damn proprietors. It’s our damn money. And it went to 4.5 million businesses, and we’re not entitled to know who they are? We have to take on faith that this bunch of brigands aren’t doling it out to lunch buddies and golfing buddies? Yeah, think again. Of course, once you’ve told Congress under oath that you forgot to disclose $100 million in assets, you can pretty much get folks to believe anything.

    [links omitted]

    Nothing to add, really.