Florida Rep. Michael Waltz (R) has rallied support in Congress by leading a letter with members of the Florida congressional delegation that calls for a federal investigation into the Florida Democratic Party’s Paycheck Protection Program application. As well, Rep. Waltz has called for all the documents, including the application, to be made available to the public.
The program was created in March by Congress, and its goal was to assist small businesses in keeping staff employed through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, the FDP applied for a loan of $780,000 through the FDP Building fund. The fund has no employees, and the fund is accused of funneling the money to the FDP itself. However, political parties are explicitly excluded from being eligible in the loan program.
The letter argues that “the fact that FDP – which was ineligible for PPP funds – applied for the loan via the Florida Democratic Building Fund, Inc. and the money was subsequently transferred back to support FDP’s payroll raises questions as to whether someone at FDP knowingly made a false statement on the PPP application in question.”
The FDP confirmed the application for a loan that was needed to keep employees on its payroll. This is despite Terrie Rizzo, the Chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, criticizing the program by calling it a “disaster” However when pressed on the status of the money, there has been no confirmation as to whether or not it’s been returned. Moreover, there has been no confirmation as to who filed the application for the loan.
Specifically, Rep. Waltz is calling for the U.S. Small Business Administration to begin a full investigation of the loan. The letter also asks for a referral to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution if it’s needed along with making public the documents and communications that were reviewed during the course of said investigation.
If found guilty, the act is punishable by a maximum of five years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000.