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Businesses associated with Trump, administration officials among recipients of coronavirus loans

Caleb Melby, Bloomberg News on

Published in Political News

Businesses associated with President Donald Trump and members of his administration were among recipients of COVID-19 small-business loans, newly released data show.

Irongate Azrep Bw LLC, Trump's business partner in a hotel and residential tower in Waikiki, Hawaii, received a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program in the range of $2 million to $5 million, according to the data released on Monday, which shows loan ranges. Calls to Trump Waikiki outside of normal business hours there weren't immediately returned.

Trump International Hotel & Tower at Waikiki isn't owned by Trump or his company, according to its website. Irongate uses the Trump name under license from a Trump Marks Waikiki LLC, which is owned by Trump.

Companies controlled by Trump, heads of his departments and their families were barred from receiving bailout money from some programs authorized by the CARES Act, which created coronavirus relief facilities earlier this year -- but Congress exempted the PPP from those provisions.

Also, in administering the program, the Small Business Administration waived ethics rules that otherwise would have required certain officials to seek approval from the agency's Standards of Conduct Committee if they sought aid for a company in which they or a "household member" were an owner, officer, director or shareholder with at least a 10% stake.

For PPP loans, the Small Business Administration waived ethics rules for officials and lawmakers, The Washington Post previously reported.

Companies that appear to match those associated with Trump Cabinet officials also received PPP loans. A company with a name matching one listed on the financial disclosures of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos received at least $6 million, the data show. The loans were made to Renaissance Acquisition Company LLC, which operates Indianapolis-based RenPSG, a provider of nonprofit services. DeVos listed the company in a 2017 financial disclosure.

 

RenPSG didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, and the Education Department didn't immediately provide a comment.

Perdue Inc., a Bonaire, Georgia-based trucking company founded by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, received between $150,000 and $350,000 of loans. When Perdue joined the government, he listed the company on a 2017 disclosure, from which he disclosed $598,591 of passive ownership income. That year, Perdue signed a government ethics agreement in which he resigned from business roles and restructured family trusts.

An Agriculture Department spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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