OHIO | Ohio congressman introduces bill requiring political organizations to return PPP loans

(The Center Square) – A Republican congressman from Ohio has introduced legislation that would require political organizations that received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to refund the money to the federal government. 

U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, introduced the Stop Pilfering Everyone’s Paycheck Protection for Election Results (PEPPER) Act after reports surfaced that Democratic parties in Ohio and Florida secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funding. The name of the legislation is an apparent dig at Ohio Democrat Party Chair David Pepper.

Gibbs points to federal regulations he says bars “businesses primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities” from receiving Small Business Administration loans. PPP loans were intended to help small businesses save jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At a time when millions of American workers were being laid off, businesses were struggling to stay open, and families suddenly lost income, the Ohio Democrat Party decided it was more important to violate federal regulations and bail out David Pepper,” Gibbs said in a statement.

“Every PPP dollar they illegally took is a dollar that could have gone to a struggling small business in Ohio,” Gibbs added. The legislation would require any “political organization that took PPP funds to return it to the Treasury by the end of 2020, because it shouldn’t be up to the taxpayers to bail out David Pepper because he can’t do his job.”

Florida Democrats returned their $780,000 PPP loan, while Ohio Democrats last week announced they would convert their forgivable $333,876 PPP loan to a private one, Cleveland.com reported.

“The purpose of the Paycheck Protection Program is to help organizations cover payroll and benefits, and that’s precisely what it has been used for ⁠— to ensure our entire team continued to work and earn a paycheck and retain their health coverage during an unprecedented public-health crisis,” the National Review quoted Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirstin Alvanitakis as saying in a previous statement.

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