Small Business Rescue Money Flows to Major Trump Donors - 2020-04-24
Major donors to President Donald Trump's presidential reelection campaign have won coveted loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, the new government effort to provide a lifeline to small businesses under duress because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The loans, which are converted to grants if payroll is maintained and other, sometimes unclear, conditions are met, have been out of reach for tens of thousands of small business owners, many of whom have faced delays and denials. But PPP loans have been swiftly approved for a number of corporations whose executives have donated heavily to Trump's campaign, Securities and Exchange Commission records show.
The largest known recipient of small business rescue money has been a set of luxury hotels run by Archie Bennett and his son Monty Bennett. The pair have obtained over $59 million in PPP funds for Ashford Hospitality Trust and Braemar Hotels & Resorts, holding companies used to own and manage a range of hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas. The companies were eligible for PPP loans because the program was intentionally designed to benefit large franchise owners of restaurants and hotels operators, as long as each location employs 500 people or less.