Trump administration doles out taxpayer money to big corporations, donors, and campaign aides even as small businesses shutter and unemployment skyrockets
Even as we learned yesterday that almost three million more Americans had lost their jobs because of Trump’s unprepared and incompetent response to the coronavirus, new reporting underscored how Trump’s economic relief efforts continue to benefit the wealthy and his political cronies while small businesses and the middle class get left behind.
A report yesterday from CNBC finds that a private jet company that caters to “wealthy executives and celebrities” received a $27 million taxpayer-funded grant. Its owner? A major Trump donor who contributed almost $50,000 to his campaign and the RNC in 2016.
Similarly, CBS News reports that almost a million dollars in money intended for struggling small businesses went to a company whose largest shareholder is Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale — the latest example of a company with ties to the Trump campaign benefitting from taxpayer support.
Extensive reporting has shown that big corporations and Trump cronies and donors have gone to the front of the line for federal money with the process greased by the dozens of Trump associates who have cashed in as lobbyists during the crisis. It’s no surprise then that Trump has moved to aggressively limit oversight of his cronyism — abruptly removing the federal watchdog tasked with overseeing trillions of dollars in stimulus spending and refusing to disclose who is receiving taxpayer dollars through the small business program.
So while Parscale drives around his Ferrari and Trump donors criss-cross the country in private jets, small businesses are getting screwed and are struggling to get access to the federal support intended for them as it gets siphoned off to the wealthy and well-connected instead. The result? America now has the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, nearly 40% of low-income workers lost their jobs in March and an estimated 100,000 small businesses have closed their doors for good.
A private jet company founded by a donor to President Donald Trump received nearly $27 million in government funding under a program run by the Treasury Department, according to government filings.
Clay Lacy Aviation, a private jet charter company based in Van Nuys, California, that serves wealthy executives and celebrities, received the government grant as part of the CARES Act, a $2 trillion federal stimulus package aimed at supporting jobs during the coronavirus crisis.
The company appears to have received the largest grant of any private jet company on the list. The vast majority of the other 96 recipients of government funding or loans on the list are major commercial airlines, regional carriers or support companies. Other large private jet operators such as NetJets are not on the list.
The funding is a grant rather than a loan, and doesn’t need to be repaid to the government. The money is part of the CARES Act program to “compensate aviation industry workers and preserve jobs.”
According to election filings, Lacy gave $2,700 to the Trump campaign in 2016 — the maximum for an individual to give to the campaign — and he gave $47,000 to the Republican National Committee after Trump became the nominee.
A company whose largest shareholder is Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale received nearly $800,000 from the federal coronavirus relief fund for small businesses, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company, CloudCommerce, was eligible for the low-interest loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, which is aimed at businesses with fewer than 500 workers. The program provides 1% loans that can be forgiven entirely if companies use 75% of the money to retain and pay workers.
Parscale has been CloudCommerce’s largest beneficial shareholder since 2017, when CloudCommerce bought two of his companies — now called Parscale Digital and Parscale Media — and added him to its Board of Directors. He currently owns 35% of the company, according to a recent SEC filing. The filing indicates he resigned from the Board on December 10, 2019.