A new report in Beacon uncovers how entities owned by the Kushner family exploited the loophole Senator Susan Collins secured for big hotel chains in the Paycheck Protection Program to tap into millions of dollars of small business aid funding.
While Maine small businesses lost out on desperately needed support, Senator Collins built the PPP to work best for her corporate backers and political allies. Companies with close ties to the Trump campaign made out like bandits from the PPP while Kushner companies and dozens of other large hotel chains were able to get up to $1 billion in PPP loans thanks to Collins’ carveout.
By Alyce McFadden
September 11, 2020
Thanks to legislative action by Sen. Susan Collins, Jared Kushner’s family company received as much as $3 million in Paycheck Protection loans, emergency relief money set aside for small businesses as a part of the CARES Act this summer.
Collins championed a provision within the bill that allowed large hotel and restaurant chains to apply for PPP loans if they had fewer than 500 people employed at each individual location, regardless of the business’s overall size. A large hotel company, EOS Investors, hired a long-time Collins staffer to lobby the senator, according to a ProPublica report.
During a May radio interview with conservative talk radio host Mike Violette, Collins took credit for the provision and claimed it would benefit Maine’s hospitality-driven economy.
“I was able to get an exception included in the bill,” Collins said. “And I think it’s made a real difference to some of our restaurants and hotels in Maine that are locally owned and needed that kind of relief.”
Kushner, who is a White House advisor and married to Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, ran Kushner Companies LLC from 2005 to 2017, when he stepped back from the business after Donald Trump’s election. This summer, the real estate corporation took full advantage of Collins’ exception.
Big businesses across all sectors faced public ire this summer after the White House released a comprehensive list of recipients of PPP loans over $150,000. Other businesses with connections to the Trump family are also included in the public data, including a hydroponics group backed by Donald Trump Jr., according to a ProPublica investigation.