SBA Releases PPP Recipient Data

December 2, 2020

On Tuesday evening, Dec. 1, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released detailed data on recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, including company names, addresses and loan amounts. The release of information was required per a lawsuit by several media outlets under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

According to the newly released data, 87 percent of all loans were for less than $150,000—meaning they went to small businesses—yet those loans accounted for only 28 percent of money disbursed through the PPP.

NSBA had urged against making such detailed information available because for many small businesses and sole-proprietors, it’s akin to sharing personal income. The organization argued that oversight would still be possible by providing loan ranges, something SBA initially did. NSBA furthermore went on the record stating that, “Advertising to the world that you’re having a hard time — even if everyone else in the whole world is — is something a small business might not want to do.”

While NSBA certainly supports transparency and sound oversight of large government programs, disclosure of recipients’ data wasn’t part of the bargain at the outset, and—as SBA argued—should have been exempted under FOIA’s confidential business information and personal privacy exemptions.

Check out the video below for more on the PPP loan program.