The Trump Administration is violating federal law by refusing to provide the Government Accountability Office with information concerning the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, five House committee chairs charged Wednesday.
“Over the past two months, GAO has requested interviews, documents, and data from SBA as part of its coronavirus pandemic oversight responsibilities,” the chairs said, in a letter to Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza. “GAO informed the Committees that SBA has not complied with GAO’s requests and repeatedly failed to commit to a timeframe in which SBA would comply.”
The chairs said that the CARES Act requires the GAO to continually monitor and report on the nation’s response to the pandemic, including the use of more than $2 trillion in economic aid provided by Congress.
They said that the SBA has not granted the GAO access to all SBA officials for interviews and those who have been interviewed “have not been fully cooperative in providing timely, fulsome, and transparent responses to interview questions.”
They also said that the SBA has failed to provide GAO with loan data for the Paycheck Protection Program.
The chairs signing the letter were Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee; Rep. Nydia Velazquez, (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee; Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee; Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis; and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), chairman of the House Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin caused a firestorm last week, when he told the Senate Small Business Committee that the administration would not release information concerning PPP loan recipients.
In addition, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Acting Chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, told the committee that the administration was not giving the data to his panel.
Committee members demanded that the administration release that information. Mnuchin said this week he would be working with the Senate Small Business Committee “to strike the appropriate balance for proper oversight [of PPP loans] and appropriate protection of small business information.”