Did some small businesses get shut out of the initial Payroll Protection Program pool by mistake?
Axios' Dan Primack raised the idea Tuesday while breaking down the Treasury Department's disclosure process Monday. The names of 660,000 small businesses that received loans of at least $150,000 from the program to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic were released, but several companies on the list said they never even applied for one.
Reporters caught a few of these potential data errors, but Axios notes they only called a tiny percentage of the businesses on the lengthy list. If the error rate is representative of the larger sample, that raises questions about how many loans actually went out, leaving open the possibility that small businesses that didn't make the cut — and subsequently had to close shop or lay off employees — because the initial funds were supposedly exhausted actually should have been able to get the assistance they needed.
The Treasury Department hasn't explained the disclosure mistakes yet, and it's possible there's nothing more to it, but Axios suggests a full audit will be needed to pinpoint the problem. Read more at Axios. Tim O'Donnell