Federal Judge Orders Release of Detailed PPP Information
The U.S. Small Business Administration will have to release detailed information about the Paycheck Protection Program Loans by November 19, according to a federal judge’s ruling on Thursday, November 5. United States District Court Judge James E. Boasberg ruled that the SBA will have to release the names, addresses and precise loan amounts of all individuals and entities that obtained COVID-19 related loans pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans program.
The ruling comes from a case filed in May 2020 by a number of media outlets, including The Washington Post, Bloomberg, Dow Jones, ProPublica, and The New York Times. The news organizations began the lawsuit in an effort to obtain more transparency and accountability from the SBA in relation to the use of $659 billion of federal funds through the Paycheck Protection Program.
In July, as a show of good faith, the SBA released some data on Paycheck Protection Program loans above $150,000, but argued that the remaining data should be protected, citing federal laws that exempt disclosure of government records when it comes to trade secrets or medical files. Judge Boasberg disagreed with the SBA’s argument, noting that applications for Paycheck Protection Program loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans notified applicants that information on the loans were subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
The SBA has not said whether they will appeal Judge Boasberg’s ruling.