View Release on Sen. Ernst's Website HERE.
WASHINGTON – Following U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-Iowa) continued urging, Biden’s Small Business Administration (SBA) is finally referring default COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to the Treasury to recover billions of taxpayer dollars.
“2024 is already bringing new opportunities for accountability at Biden’s mismanaged SBA! After nearly a year of oversight, the agency finally answered my calls to collect billions of taxpayer dollars in delinquent and fraudulent COVID loans,” said Ranking Member Ernst. “I will keep working to ensure the more than $200 billion the agency doled out to fraudsters does not go unpunished or uncollected, and as always, I am committed to making Washington bureaucrats squeal and protecting our hard-earned dollars from waste and abuse.”
Ernst, Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee, has long been concerned about SBA’s failure to address fraud and recover 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. She is leading the Strengthening Taxpayers Recoveries Act, which prohibits the SBA from suspending collections on COVID funds and allows the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery to find more fraud.
As SBA ran the PPP, 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. Some swindlers uploaded pictures of Barbie dolls as photo identification on SBA loan applications that were approved. One alleged fraudster took home $8 million while nearly 2,000 struggling restaurants in Iowa were left empty-handed. Ernst detailed this in her November report titled Small Business COVID-19 Fraud: Three Years Later State of Play – where she outlined the Biden SBA’s effort to discount the full extent of fraud and cast doubt on the legitimate estimates made by expert investigators.