Today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee, ripped Biden’s Small Business Administration (SBA) for handing out more than $200 billion in suspected fraudulent pandemic recovery grants and loans to 4.5 million scammers, while thousands of deserving small businesses in Iowa were left empty-handed.
Ernst highlighted her new effort, the Strengthening Taxpayer Recoveries Act, which requires the SBA to collect all of the COVID funds owed to taxpayers, including the money wrongfully given to fraudsters, and expand the jurisdiction of the Special Inspector General to find more fraud.
As SBA ran the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and Restaurant Revitalization Fund on a “first come, first serve” basis, the money ran out quickly, and many qualifying businesses were turned away as felons, gang members, and drug traffickers raked in cash. One alleged fraudster took home $8 million while nearly 2,000 struggling restaurants in Iowa were left empty-handed.
Ernst has long been concerned about SBA’s failure to recover misspent COVID funds. In April, Ernst demanded the SBA pursue all debt collections, no matter the size, for all SBA COVID Programs. Ernst has also called on the SBA administrator to minimize losses to the taxpayer and to rectify SBA’s noncompliance with improper payment requirements.