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Monday, August 3, 2020

Firms tied to Democratic reps, their spouses got millions in PPP loans

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WASHINGTON — A handful of businesses associated with Democratic lawmakers collected millions of dollars worth of Paycheck Protection Program loans after it was revealed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband also benefited from the stimulus deal.

Companies linked to Reps. Matt Cartwright (D. Pa), Conor Lamb (D. Pa), TJ Cox (D. Calif) and Harley Rouda (D. Calif) received coronavirus loans, as did the family law firm of New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi, according to the data released by the Small Business Administration on Monday.

Businesses linked to Cox collected up to $1.7 million in federal bailouts. His Madera nut processing factory received a loan between $100,000 and $350,000, as did an assisted living center of which he still has a financial stake worth up to $1 million, SBA and financial disclosure filings show.

An affordable housing firm where the Democratic congressman was listed as director in 2019 also got between $350,000 to $1 million from the federal government, but a spokesperson said he resigned as director last year.

“TJ Cox built and is now proud to be a passive minority investor in an almond processing plant that has created many Central Valley jobs,” campaign manager Amanda Sands told The Post.

“Unlike the large publicly traded companies that received millions in PPP funding, the plant received $350,000 in loans that will protect agriculture jobs here in the Valley during the COVID-19 crisis,” she continued, saying the loan was acquired through “proper channels.”

The family law firm of Anthony Brindisi, who represents the upstate Utica area, also received a loan of $150,000, the records show. A spokesman for the first-term congressman’s office said he was no longer a partner at the firm since becoming a member of the House and did not apply for the PPP loan.

His father and sister still work at the company, Brindisi, Murad & Brindisi Pearlman LLP, and he was listed as a partner there in 2019, financial records show, declaring an income of between $50,001 and $100,000.

In an April interview with WRVO radio the congressman complained that small local businesses were not getting enough of the funding from Congress, saying many mom and pop businesses lacked “the accountants and lawyers on staff to walk them through the intricacies of this program.”

Trident Holdings, an LLC which owns dozens of Captain D’s Seafood Kitchen franchises, received a loan of between $350,000 and $1 million, according to the SBA. Rep. Harley Rouda’s wife Kaira Rouda sits on the board.

The Mattress Factory contemporary art museum in Pittsburgh where Rep. Conor Lamb’s wife Hayley Haldeman serves as interim executive director also took between $150,000 and $300,000 in PPP funding.

Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Cartwright’s former law firm, Munley Law, where his wife still works, took between $350,000 and $1 million in coronavirus loans, according to the SBA.

Cartwright’s wife, Marion Munley, also sits on the American Association for Justice Education Fund Board and they took between $150,000 and $350,000 in PPP bailouts.

Their offices did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to sustain the income of workers who have been furloughed during the coronavirus crisis, but several members of Congress faced a backlash when it was revealed their family companies raked in millions.

The loans can be converted into grants if companies have up to 500 employees.

A car dealership owned by Texas GOP Rep. Roger Williams, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, received a loan, while a restaurant chain which received a $15 million loan returned the funds after it was revealed Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s husband works as a lawyer for the company.

He denied he was involved in the application process.

Read More at NYPost

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