A federal judge has ordered the Small Business Administration to release the names, addresses and precise loan amounts for businesses that received loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.
“In light of SBA’s awesome statutory responsibility to administer the federal government’s effort at keeping the nation’s small businesses afloat amidst an economic and health crisis of unprecedented proportions, the public interest in learning how well the agency fulfilled its charge is particularly pronounced,” U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled last week.
He gave the Trump Administration until Nov. 19 to release the data.
Several news organizations had submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the agency for all data for businesses that received PPP loans and funds from the agency’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The SBA denied those requests.
The agency has released aggregate loan data but has refused to release details of individual loans.
The news organizations sued the agency in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking the loan specifics.
In his ruling, Boasberg said that in the PPP application, SBA specifically told potential borrowers that their names and loan amounts would be “automatically released” upon the filing of an FOIA request.
Boasberg also said that the allegations of fraud in the SBA pandemic programs makes release of the loan data even more critical.