SBA Releases Redacted PPP Data in the Midst of Ongoing Lawsuit
The Small Business Administration (“SBA”) released redacted Paycheck Protection Program data this month as a step towards publishing loan amounts and recipients of PPP loans. The release follows requests for public access to SBA data in an ongoing lawsuit seeking more transparency surrounding the SBA’s distribution of the PPP funds. A number of major media companies, including The Washington Post, Bloomberg, and The New York Times, filed suit against the SBA in May for violation of the Freedom of Information Act. The companies requested SBA records on private companies that had received assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program, which the SBA denied.
While the redacted PPP records are the most detailed information about the program available to the public at the moment, it is not as transparent as the plaintiffs in the lawsuit hoped for. Currently, the documents available only offer the range of loan amounts, such as $150,000 – $350,000; $350,000 – $1 million; $1 million – $2 million; rather than identifying specific loan amounts dispersed to businesses. Although the data does not show exact amounts disbursed to businesses, it does offer insight on how many jobs were supported by PPP loans. Based on the data available, the funds supported 31.5 million jobs at a wide range of employers, including banks, hospitals, restaurants, and hair salons. The data allows insight into loan recipients, business types, and the loan amount ranges. The data also released total loans by zip code, industry and business type.
The lawsuit against the SBA is ongoing, with plaintiffs requesting more transparency from the SBA. The SBA has said that detailed information about the loans should not be made public, while plaintiffs allege that the information should be made public in order to determine whether the Paycheck Protection Program favored larger businesses at the expense of small businesses. According to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, the data that has been released was the result of a deal between lawmakers, the SBA, and Treasury Officials to provide transparency, while also protecting personal income and information from smaller businesses.
Access to the SBA data can be found here: