July 7, 2020—A Pennsylvania congressman received nearly $1 million in federal COVID-19 relief loans for his auto dealerships, according to a report by the newspaper website inquirer.com.
Records show that U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, who represents a northwest Pennsylvania district that includes Erie, owns car dealerships outside of Pittsburgh. Three entities associated with the business each received federal loans ranging between $150,000 and $350,000, Treasury Department records show.
Kelly's businesses received the government-backed loans in April under the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program as part of the government's pandemic relief legislation. The loans helped retain 95 jobs at Kelly's business, according to Treasury data.
A centerpiece of the government's efforts to protect small businesses and their employees amid the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the loan program has been criticized for making it easier for big businesses to get fast cash than for smaller, mom-and-pop businesses.
Members of Congress were not prohibited from receiving the federal aid, though some have drawn criticism for benefiting from a law they passed.