Public companies received $1 billion in stimulus funds meant for small businesses

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Publicly traded companies have received more than $1 billion in funds meant for small businesses from the federal government’s economic stimulus package, according to data from securities filings compiled by The Washington Post.

Nearly 300 public companies have reported receiving money from the fund, called the Paycheck Protection Program, according to the data compiled by The Post. Recipients include 43 companies with more than 500 workers, the maximum typically allowed by the program. Several other recipients were prosperous enough to pay executives $2 million or more.

After the first pool of $349 billion ran dry, leaving more than 80% of applicants without funding, outrage over the millions of dollars that went to larger firms prompted some companies to return the money. As of Thursday, public companies had reported returning more than $125 million, according to a Post analysis of filings.

Other companies have said they plan to keep the funds, saying the loans had been awarded according to the program’s rules and that they would use most of it to pay workers, as required, in order for the loans to be forgiven.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has defended the program as a success, saying three-quarters of the loans were for totals of under $150,000. But after the first batch of loans was issued, the administration also scrambled to release new guidance for the program to discourage large public companies from applying.

Officials have urged publicly traded firms with access to other capital to return the money by May 7. Mnuchin said this week that all loans of more than $2 million would be audited with potential penalties for those who don’t comply. – READ MORE

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