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Rep. Ben McAdams ‘outraged’ over Treasury Department’s refusal to disclose paycheck protection loan information

Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, visits the Salt Lake County Public Health Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. McAdams thanked employees who are producing vital data about the source of the county’s COVID-19 infections.
Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, visits the Salt Lake County Public Health Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. McAdams thanked employees who are producing vital data about the source of the county’s COVID-19 infections.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Ben McAdams says he is “outraged” by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s decision to withhold information on who received loan money from the $500 billion Paycheck Protection Program.

The paycheck loan program was approved by Congress earlier this year to help small businesses keep paying their employees during shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mnuchin said during a congressional hearing earlier this week that the names of business that received the loans and the amount they received is “proprietary information.”

“What part of ‘it’s taxpayer money’ does (Mnuchin) not understand? These tax dollars are meant to help Main Street businesses in cities and towns across the country,” McAdams said in a press release. “We know that is not what is happening, based on news accounts of large companies getting these loans while small business owners were left out in the cold. Transparency, not secrecy, is the only way to keep faith with citizens that their money is getting to those for whom it was intended.”

When the protection program first rolled out, it was reported that large companies such as Shake Shack received millions in loans intended for small businesses, prompting calls for more transparency and oversight.

McAdams went on to say the Government Accountability Office, which oversees how taxpayer money is used, hasn’t received data it has requested from the Treasury Department regarding the loan program, even though Mnuchin said he would turn it over during the hearing.

“This raises troubling questions on the agencies’ lack of transparency and accountability,” McAdams said.