Conservative Organization Investigating Biden Admin’s ‘Partisan’ Voter Registration Push in Key Swing State

Voter Registration

The America First Policy Institute (AFPI) launched an investigation Wednesday into a Biden administration program aimed at registering voters in a key swing state, the Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

AFPI is demanding documents from the Biden administration regarding the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) voter registration efforts in Michigan, an operation it suspects could disproportionately benefit Democrats in November’s election, the organization exclusively told the DCNF. The SBA’s voter registration operations in Michigan are part of Executive Order 14019, which compels federal agencies to develop a plan to promote voter engagement and participation, sparking concerns from some conservatives that public funds may be used to help Democrats in the looming general election.

Read the full story

Tennessee Celebrates Small Business Appreciation Week

Gov. Bill Lee (R) has officially proclaimed April 28 to May 4 as Small Business Appreciation Week in Tennessee. 

Noting that small businesses are “the backbone of Tennessee’s economy, comprising a significant portion of the State’s employment including nearly half of private-sector workforce,” and that “supporting small business owners in Tennessee strengthens the State’s resilience against economic downturns and promotes sustainable economic development,” Lee released the official proclamation on the state’s website. 

Read the full story

FEMA Urges Tennessee Businesses Affected by Tornadoes to Apply for Relief Immediately

Tennessee Tornado

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging Tennessee businesses that suffered damages during the deadly tornadoes that ripped through the state earlier this month to apply for financial relief as soon as possible. 

“FEMA may refer survivors of the Dec. 9 tornadoes to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) with information on how to apply for a disaster loan. It’s important to submit the loan application as soon as possible,” the organization said in a Wednesday release. “SBA disaster loans are the largest source of federal disaster recovery funds for survivors. SBA offers long-term, low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters.”

Read the full story

Sen. Joni Ernst Releases List of Federal Agencies with High Employee No-Show Rates Post-COVID

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA)

With Christmas fast-approaching, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa put out a “naughty list” of government agencies that have high no-show rates of employees who have not returned to the office after the COVID-19 pandemic ended.

According to Ernst’s list, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Social Security Administration top the list with just 7 percent office occupancy rates.

Read the full story

Tennessee Senator Bill Hagerty Joins Colleagues in Demanding Biden Release Records on Federalized Voter Initiatives

U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) joined 22 of his colleagues this week in penning a letter to President Joe Biden demanding his administration come clean on his executive order instructing federal agencies to roll out voter mobilization plans.

The White House has refused to respond to the senators’ previous demands for transparency on Executive Order 14019, which appears to violate federal law prohibiting agencies from expending federal funds without congressional authorization.

Read the full story

GOP Senators Demand Biden Account for Taxpayer Money Used in Federalized GOTV Effort

As the Biden administration goes about the legally suspect quest of federalizing get-out-the-vote efforts, more than a dozen U.S. senators are asking for an accounting of the “Promoting Access to Voting” campaign. 

U.S. Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Bill Haggerty (R-TN) are among the 14 Republican senators who sent a letter to Biden requesting full transparency on Executive Order 14019, which directs federal agencies to submit strategic plans to the White House describing how they will use taxpayer-funded resources to “provide access to voter registration services and vote-by-mail ballot applications.” 

Read the full story

Documents: Concert Promoter Giant Live Nation’s Subsidiaries Weren’t Eligible for Millions of Dollars in COVID Grants

Subsidiaries of behemoth concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment received $20 million in federal COVID grants that they were not entitled to, according to a Wisconsin Daily Star review of documents.

Madison-based Frank Productions Concerts, LLC and National Shows 2, LLC of Delaware, each received $10 million from the Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venues Operator Grant (SVOG) program — funding that was clearly marked for independent operators, not subsidiaries of publicly traded companies.

Read the full story

Government May Have Sent up to $1.3 Billion in COVID Aid to Foreign Countries

On Monday, a watchdog report claimed that the Small Business Administration (SBA) may have accidentally sent as much as $1.3 billion in COVID-19 relief funding to foreign countries during the pandemic.

According to the Daily Caller, the office of the SBA inspector general reported that the agency failed to detect the foreign IP addresses of those who applied for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), which awarded as much as $2 million per business or nonprofit. As a result, up to $1.3 billion may have been sent to recipients in “high risk” countries.

Read the full story

SBA Oversight Failures Lead to $93M in Questionable Awards to Disadvantaged Firms, Internal Audit Finds

The Golden Horseshoe is a weekly designation from Just The News intended to highlight egregious examples of wasteful taxpayer spending by the government. The award is named for the horseshoe-shaped toilet seats for military airplanes that cost the Pentagon a whopping $640 each back in the 1980s.

This week’s Golden Horseshoe is awarded to the Small Business Administration, which awarded $93 million in questionable contracts to small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals under the agency’s 8 (a) Business Development Program, according to a recent audit by the SBA Office of Inspector General.

Read the full story

Report Claims Unions Skirted Rules to Receive Paycheck Protection Program Loans

The Small Business Administration-administered Paycheck Protection Program paid out millions of dollars to ineligible unions, according to a new report released by the Freedom Foundation.

The Freedom Foundation investigated the SBA’s database of PPP loans, and concluded approximately 226 loans totaling $36.7 million were distributed to labor unions and affiliated organizations. The first round of PPP loans explicitly states such entities were ineligible for the government funds prior to March 11, 2021.

“The Small Business Administration knew as early as July 2020 that Paycheck Protection Program loans were being approved for unions that weren’t eligible to receive the funds,” Maxford Nelsen, Freedom Fund director of Labor Policy, told The Center Square.

Read the full story

Small Business Administration Spends $14.8 Million in Questionable Costs for Underutilized Small Business Portal

U.S Small Business Administration

This week’s Golden Horseshoe is awarded to the Small Business Administration for lax oversight of a $25 million grant for the creation of a COVID-19 relief small business portal that ran up $14.8 million in questionable costs for an underutilized hub, according to a report by the agency’s Office of Inspector General.

The SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development (OED) received $25 million through the CARES Act to create a portal to help small businesses during the pandemic. An $18.6 million grant was awarded for the Resource Partner Training Portal program, but the intended results were not achieved. A combination of a failed marketing strategy to let small businesses know of the portal’s existence and unsupported or unallowable invoices led the inspector general to question $14.8 million in costs.

“SBA did not did not ensure the grant recipient developed and implemented an effective marketing and outreach strategy to ensure the hub successfully achieved the legislative purpose of the CARES Act,” Inspector General Hannibal “Mike” Ware stated in the report.

Read the full story

Smyrna, Tennessee Man Allegedly Used Paycheck Protection Program Fraud Gains to Buy a Maserati Sports Car, Semi-Trailer Truck, and More

several $100 bills

The Department of Justice announced this week a man from Smyrna, Tennessee was charged for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) fraud. Shawn Palmer, who is the sole owner of Palmers Transportation, Inc. was charged with a criminal information which alleges he applied for and received a PPP loan of $514,370.

According to the charging document, in June of 2020 Palmer sent documents to an individual who assisted him to apply for a PPP loan. The documents were then sent to Kabbage, Inc. which was “a lender approved by the Small Business Administration to provide funds under the program which was designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Read the full story

Small Business Administration Not Taking Direct Action Against Partner Lenders That Issued Billions in Fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program Loans

The Small Business Administration is not taking action against its partner lenders that issued billions of dollars in fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans, Just the News has learned.

Congress appropriated almost $1 trillion in forgivable PPP loans to assist businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 15% of the $961 billion is projected to have been obtained fraudulently, according to a study.

A House of Representatives panel estimated that $84 billion in PPP funds was issued fraudulently.

Read the full story

Fraudsters Used Paycheck Protection Program Loans for Bentleys, Diamonds, Luxury Homes: Watchdog

woman on laptop with eye glasses and mug next to her

This week’s Golden Horseshoe goes to the Small Business Administration for millions in Paycheck Protection Program loans it issued to fraudsters who used the money to purchase luxury homes, high-priced jewelry and expensive cars, including a Bentley and two Lamborghinis, according to a watchdog report.

The Paycheck Protection Program had the highest percentage of cases of criminal activity of all the pandemic relief programs, according to the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee’s recent Semiannual Report to Congress.

“A total of 14 OIGs have indictments/complaints, arrests, and/or convictions from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021, related to the federal government’s COVID-19 pandemic response,” PRAC reported.

Read the full story

After a Year of COVID Lockdowns and Restrictions, Representative Cooper Writes Letter to Biden Administration to Save Nashville’s Dying Live Music

After a year of supporting mandated COVID closures, Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN-05) begged the Biden Administration to save some of Nashville’s historic live music venues. On Wednesday, Cooper penned a letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA). The representative asked the SBA to expedite their Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) for the businesses that faced several months of mandatory closure and a year of lockdowns and restrictions in his district.

“Nashville’s live music venues and theaters are in dire need of help through the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant program,” tweeted Cooper. “I’ve urged the @SBAgov Administrator to immediately expedite the applications of our cultural centers. Music City can’t lose these treasures.”

Read the full story

Commentary: Did PPP Work?

As the Small Business Administration official who oversaw the Paycheck Protection Program, I’m often asked, “Did PPP actually work?”  

PPP was a response to state and local governments mandating shutdowns as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19. The premise was this: Encourage lenders to provide small businesses and nonprofits with forgivable, SBA-guaranteed loans over an eight-week period as a payroll-support measure. This small business financial support was designed to help prevent mass unemployment as Americans were confined to their homes.  

Read the full story

SBA Hid Communications with Planned Parenthood Amid GOP Criticism Over PPP Loans

The Small Business Administration hid communications with Planned Parenthood regarding COVID-19 loans that Republicans say were illegal, emails obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation show.

The SBA released heavily redacted emails between the agency, lenders and Planned Parenthood affiliates in response to a Freedom of Information Act request the DCNF filed in May 2020. GOP lawmakers had previously demanded an investigation into $80 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, saying they were obtained illegally.

Read the full story

Ohio Man Indicted in Massive PPP Fraud Case

An Ohio man is one of five being indicted in a $4 million Payroll Protection Program (PPP) fraud case.

The accused allegedly submitted, or assisted in the submission of a fraudulent PPP loan for five businesses according to the indictment. Khalil Gibran Green Sr. of Cleveland claimed to be the sole owner of Impact Creations LLC, a company that claimed to have 67 employees and an average monthly payroll of $332,000 on a PPP application.

Read the full story

SBA: 2.2 Million Loans, $175B Issued So Far in 2nd Round of Paycheck Protection Program

The Small Business Administration and the U.S. Treasury revealed Sunday that the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program has issued 2.2 million loans, totaling $175 billion.

PPP loans are forgivable loans for small businesses to offset some of the losses experienced by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The loans are meant to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

Read the full story