The husband of a United States Senator, who has been leading the charge to expand the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), has received millions of dollars in loans from the relief effort.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Small Business Committee up for reelection this year, has made a concerted push in recent weeks to extend the PPP program past its original deadline. Initially, the program was set to expire on June 30, but Shaheen and several other senior Senate Democrats succeeded in moving the deadline to August 8, arguing that the economic impact of the COVID19 pandemic was still being felt by businesses across the country.
As the senator and colleagues pushed for the extension, Shaheen also introduced legislation to expand the program. In mid-June, Shaheen unveiled the Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program (P4) Act, which if passed would authorize a second round of loans to small businesses.
“PPP has been the lifeline that has kept many small businesses from going under,” the senator said upon introduction. “Yet, revenues for many small businesses are still at unsustainable lows and a second loan is needed as soon as possible.”
The act, sponsored alongside Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Chris Coons (D-DE), would allow “small businesses with 100 employees or less, including sole proprietorships and self-employed individuals” to receive new loans from the PPP fund. Only small businesses that have already used their initial PPP loans would be eligible to apply. Businesses would also have to prove that they have lost 50 percent or more of their revenue due to the coronavirus. Shaheen’s legislation would further extend the deadline for initial PPP loans to December 30 of this year or longer.
While Shaheen was pushing the legislation, and the broader effort to extend the initial PPP deadline, businesses connected to the senator’s husband were getting massive loans from the program.
Federal data for the program released on Monday by the Small Business Administration indicates that Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. received between one and two million dollars in PPP loans on April 13 of this year.
The law firm, one of the largest operating in New Hampshire and portions of Maine, is run by the senator’s husband, Bill Shaheen. According to the senator’s 2018 financial disclosure, Bill Shaheen owns between $250,oo1 to $500,000 of stock in the firm, and holds a promissory note for a further $100,001 to $250,000. Shaheen & Gordon’s loan was significantly larger than the average amount given to PPP recipients in April. In that month, businesses on average received $200,000 from the program.
The firm, however, was not the business tied to the Shaheen family that received coronavirus aid. Atlas-Heritage Title, LLC, a real estate title company half-owned by Bill Shaheen, received between $150,000 and $350,000 in PPP loans in April. Similarly, a restaurant the senator’s husband owns in Maine and a beauty salon in which he holds a half-ownership stake received more than $100,000 altogether in PPP loans.
The senator’s office did not respond to requests for comment on this story.