At least four members of Congress have reaped benefits in some way from the half-trillion-dollar small-business loan program they helped create.
And no one knows how many more there could be.
It’s a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have acknowledged close ties to companies that have received loans from the program — businesses that are either run by their families or employ their spouse as a senior executive.
Republicans on the list include Rep. Roger Williams of Texas, a wealthy businessman who owns auto dealerships, body shops and car washes, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, whose family owns multiple farms and equipment suppliers across the Midwest. The Democrats count Rep. Susie Lee of Nevada, whose husband is CEO of a regional casino developer, and Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell of Florida, whose husband is an executive at a restaurant chain that has since returned the loan.
And there are almost certainly more, according to aides and lawmakers. But only the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department have that information, and the Trump administration is refusing to provide any details. That leaves it entirely up to business owners — including elected officials — to decide whether to come forward about a loan, which can be as large as $10 million.
Democrats have tried to pry free the list of recipients. But their push in the House to require disclosure of at least some companies was blocked on the floor late last month by Republicans — including Williams and Hartzler, who voted against the bill. Lee and Powell joined all Democrats in supporting it. All four lawmakers have previously voted in favor of the small-business program.