President Trump needs to take a Clint Eastwood-like stand and bluntly tell the dozens of major American companies that have greedily — and possibly illegally — wolfed down 70 percent of the money allocated to small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Plan that they have to refund the money, in full, by Monday morning or face legal criminal prosecution for larceny.
No kidding around.
These corporate behemoths knew that they were raiding a cookie jar not intended for them, but they edged out the mom-and-pop stores for whom the program is designed, forcing Congress to appropriate over $300 billion in additional funding.
While Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin decried the actions of these huge companies at the Tuesday media briefing, he suggested that his department would “give them the benefit of the doubt” and presume that they just didn’t know that they weren’t eligible.
Baloney. Are we to believe that these well-lawyered companies just didn’t read the fine print?
I don’t think so.
Over $243 billion of the $349 billion lent out under the PPP has gone to major publicly traded companies, who were not supposed to get the loans.
For example, DMC Global got a loan of $6.7 million despite having a market value of $405 million, allowing it to raise capital easily on normal private markets.
Other companies getting loans included Shake Shack (which has since given it back) and Fiesta Restaurant Group (which owns Pollo Tropical fast food outlets).
Democrats like to claim that President Trump is beholden to his large corporate donors and will cite this misallocation of funds as a perfect example.
The president needs to nip their attacks in the bud by demanding, loudly and publicly, that they give the money back by Monday — or else.
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