The SBA has not provided the Government Accountability Office with requests for interviews, documents and data as part of its oversight responsibilities for the $2.2 trillion CARE Act, five House Democrats wrote in a letter addressed to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza on Wednesday,
“We are deeply troubled by SBA’s failure to comply with GAO’s independent and nonpartisan oversight of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest emergency appropriations package in United States history,” the letter said. “SBA’s withholding of information is in violation of the law.”
Signatories include Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Small Business Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., Coronavirus Select Committee Chairman James Clyburn, D-S.C., Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., and Appropriations subcommittee chair Mike Quigley, D-Ill.
The representatives asked the SBA to send the necessary data, documents, interviews and other information by June 29.
Pressure has mounted on the Trump administration and Congress to release the names of businesses that received loans.
The SBA has also rebuffed efforts by the GAO to see loan level data on the Paycheck Protection Program, the $670 billion fund that provides forgivable loans to small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, according to the letter.
“Unfortunately, many large companies were able to utilize this program and obtained PPP loans that were intended for small businesses," the Democrats wrote. "Refusing to provide basic data to GAO about PPP loans appears to be an attempt to avoid such oversight and accountability."
The letter comes amid a growing push for transparency of the small business rescue program. So far, the SBA has not made public the list of roughly 4.6 million businesses that have received close to $513 billion in government-backed aid.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week while testifying before the Senate Small Business Committee that the agency would not disclose the names of loan recipients; however, on Monday, Mnuchin said he plans to talk with lawmakers about program oversight.
"I will be having discussions with the Senate @SmallBizCmte and others on a bipartisan basis to strike the appropriate balance for proper oversight of #ppploans and appropriate protection of small business information," Mnuchin tweeted on Monday morning.