Who’s Making Decisions Behind the Curtain? | SBA and Covid Relief Funding

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 26, 2020

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by Noreen Wise

It was startling to receive an emailed letter from the U.S. SBA Disaster Assistance Processing and Disbursement Center, located at 14925 Kingsport Road in Fort Worth, Texas, yesterday morning, Memorial Day no less, stating that a media business, focused on climate change and phasing out fossil fuels, is not eligible for the EIDL loan:

Business activity is not eligible. EIDL assistance is available only to a small business engaged in an eligible business activity. Business activity means the nature of the business conducted by the applicant. ~U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Processing and Disbursement Center

The bolded quote (please see the letter below) implies that there is an official list of which business activities are eligible and which are not, but in calling the SBA Disaster Assistance Processing and Disbursement Center, I learned that there is no such list. Googling this, I found no such list either. And yet, clearly the letter states this.

What’s going on?

I’m currently on hold at the Fort Worth office, and have been routed through a series of calls to Tier 2 Escalation, where I have just learned I’m caller number 543, so this may be an all day wait.

Phrasing the loan decline in this way is clearly arbitrary, and leaves one to speculate that whoever created this verbiage was relying on some type of behind the scenes directive. The implication seems to be political, or perhaps based on company size. But what I envision is that an algorithm was created for media companies, and run through social media, gleaning data from posts, and an unofficial list was established of who would or would not receive rescue assistance. This was most likely based on how each media company posts about the current president and his administration.

Shocking, yet totally believable.

Again, my current hypothesis regarding covid relief loans for media companies is that loan delcines were based on whether they are for or against our impeached president, absent any information that can better explain this subjective declination rationale.

So sad. Yet, thankful to know that this is our tragic reality in this epic year, 2020. Understanding that this is the difficult road forward for media companies as we inch closer to election day 2020, removes the blinders, which improves our vision. 🌳

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