Firm linked to Pelosi’s husband received PPP virus relief loan

Firm tied to House Speaker’s spouse listed as receiving loan between $350,000 and $1m from taxpayer-funded programme.

Nancy Pelosi
United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had previously been a major critic of what she cast as concealment of Paycheck Protection Program loan data by the administration of US President Donald Trump, and she praised its decision last month to release some loan-level details [File: Bloomberg]

A company tied to the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi showed up among hundreds of thousands of recipients of loans from the $669 billion Paycheck Protection Program.

Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman described Paul Pelosi as an investor in the firm, which turned up in loan-level disclosures for the program that were released Monday by the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration. In addition, three foundations associated with congressional caucuses turned up as loan recipients.

EDI Associates is listed as a recipient of a loan between $350,000 and $1 million. The same company was listed in Nancy Pelosi’s latest House financial disclosure report filed in May 2019, for the year 2018. Paul Pelosi is a businessman and investor.

“He’s an investor. So, he was not aware the loan was applied for,” said spokesman Drew Hammill of Pelosi’s husband, emphasizing also that he was a limited investor.

EDI Associates is listed in Pelosi’s disclosure form as located in Sonoma, California. It’s identified as a limited partnership with an investment in the El Dorado Hotel. The value of the asset on the form – identified as belonging to Pelosi’s spouse – is listed as between $250,001 and $500,000.

A number of other companies tied to federal lawmakers have surfaced in previous media reports as having accepted loans from the program, which is part of the $2 trillion CARES Act that Congress passed to counter economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

Pelosi had previously been a major critic of what she cast as the Trump administration’s concealment of PPP loan data. Last month, after the administration agreed to release some loan-level details, she praised the decision.

‘Overdue Step’

“The Trump administration’s concealment of PPP loan data was a disturbing sign of its complete indifference to ensuring that Paycheck Protection Program funds go first and foremost to the most vulnerable small businesses on Main Street,” she said on June 20, in a release. “Its reversal is an overdue step toward securing the transparency needed to ensure struggling small businesses, particularly minority, women and veteran-owned businesses, are getting the vital assistance they need to survive and retain their workers.”

Four other House members surfaced in previous reports about businesses that took Paycheck Protection Program loans. Republicans Roger Williams and Vicky Hartzler and Democrats Susie Lee and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell have ties to companies that are either run by their families or employ their spouses as a senior executives.

The SBA issued a rule that would allow lawmakers to bypass a conflict-of-interest review process in applying for the small business loans, a move that critics have said creates the potential for self-dealing and abuse. Typically, members of Congress and some other government employees have to seek approval from the SBA’s Standards of Conduct Committee if they are seeking aid for a company where they or a “household member” are an owner, officer, director or shareholder with at least a 10% stake.

Congressional Disclosure

There’s been some movement in Congress to require lawmakers to disclose PPP loans. Senator Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican, introduced legislation last month that would require lawmakers and their family members to disclose if they got a loan.

“The PPP has saved countless businesses and the jobs of millions of Americans, but those in Congress who are voting on it – or any issue – where a potential conflict of interest may exist need to be upfront about it,” Ernst said in a statement. “The only reason to oppose this bill is if you have something to hide.”

The data released Monday also show that the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute each received PPP loans of between $350,000 and $1 million. Both are nonprofit nonpartisan public policy, research and educational arms of the member caucuses.

Erica Southerland, a spokeswoman for the CBC Foundation, had no immediate comment; a spokeswoman for the CHC Institute did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A spokesman for a third group that’s listed as receiving a loan for between $350,000 and $1 million, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: Bloomberg