Program Collins authored has doled out millions to corporate special interests like those backing her campaign and companies with close ties to Trump
Only a fraction of small businesses that have applied for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program have been able to get funding, but companies tied to the Trump campaign have accessed millions through the program that Senator Susan Collins authored.
The PPP hasn’t just been good for Trump allies, it’s also been great for Collins’ big business backers. Senator Collins tweaked the program to allow big hotel and restaurant chains to tap into the coronavirus aid funding that was intended for struggling small businesses, after taking thousands in campaign donations from PACs representing large hotel and restaurant corporations.
“Susan Collins’ signature coronavirus aid program has propped up her campaign donors and Trump’s closest allies while leaving too many small businesses here in Maine behind,” said Maine Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Marra. “Rather than working to fix the program, Collins is running ads taking credit for this mess. We need a Senator who will get to work for our small businesses, not just their Washington Republican allies.”
By Graham Kates and Stephen Gandel
May 14, 2020
A company whose largest shareholder is Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale received nearly $800,000 from the federal coronavirus relief fund for small businesses, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company, CloudCommerce, was eligible for the low-interest loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, which is aimed at businesses with fewer than 500 workers. The program provides 1% loans that can be forgiven entirely if companies use 75% of the money to retain and pay workers.
CloudCommerce received the $780,680 loan from Utah's Cache Valley Bank on May 5. That's more than six times the average PPP loan size of $125,000. CloudCommerce acknowledged the loan in an SEC filing and said it is "forgivable after eight weeks if the Company uses the PPP Loan proceeds for eligible purposes, including payroll, benefits, rent and utilities, and otherwise complies with PPP requirements."
In late December, the digital marketing company began soliciting new investors through a stock offering that promises a high annual dividend payment of 10%. Dozens of ads for the stock offering were removed from Facebook in February and March, because they violated the platform's policy against "get-rich-quick" schemes and made "exaggerated promises.”
Facebook said in a statement to CBS News at the time that CloudCommerce's ads violated policies that "prohibit the kinds of tactics that mislead people through exaggerated promises of guaranteed financial success."
It is not clear how much the company has raised so far from that stock offering, from which it is seeking up to $20 million. But the company raised $600,000 last year from new lending arrangements, according to recently filed financial reports with the SEC. The Treasury Department has said that companies that can raise money through other means might not qualify for the government-backed PPP loan fund.
Last month, CBS News reported that Phunware, a company that built the Trump campaign app, got a $3 million loan from the Paycheck Protection Program.