Missouri Treasurer Criticizes Pandemic Spending After Receiving Loans

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When he announced Thursday that he was running for government auditor, Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick pledged to fight back liberal politicians who “used the pandemic as a cover to justify spending trillions of dollars in borrowed money to fund their socialist agenda.”

What he didn’t notice was that the company he founded received more than $ 1.3 million in federal funding for pandemic relief.

MariCorp US, a boat dock repair firm on Table Rock Lake in Shell Nob that Fitzpatrick founded as a teenager, received two loans from the federal government’s payroll protection (PPP) program to help small businesses pay wages during the pandemic COVID-19.

The first loan of $ 694,562 received in April 2020 was forgiven.

The status of the second loan of $ 646,071, received just three months ago, has not been publicly disclosed.

According to ProPublica’s PPP Loan Database, the first loan was supposed to support 54 jobs. The second is to save 60 jobs. Loans can be forgiven if companies meet criteria that include not firing employees for a specified period.

Fitzpatrick’s campaign defended federal funding, arguing that the loans were needed because “the government broke the economy and MariCorp US, like millions of other businesses, faced layoffs of employees and their families.”

The campaign distinguished between the relief of the pandemic signed into law by former President Donald Trump and the subsequent relief signed by President Joe Biden.

“There is a clear difference between the socialist proposals coming from liberal politicians and the Trump administration’s paycheck program, which has received almost unanimous support in Congress to keep people working,” said Steele Shippi, Fitzpatrick’s campaign adviser.

The PPP was established in April 2020 under the CARES law. The goal was to help businesses prevent mass layoffs as the economy reeled under the pressure of the pandemic.

A year later, a month before Fitzpatrick’s company received a second loan, Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which extended the PPP program.

While some economists have questioned the success of PPPs, arguing that it primarily helps businesses that did not risk going broke, the program is credited with preventing the loss of millions of jobs and a deeper economic disaster.

Almost from the start, policy programs, especially members of Congress, have been scrutinized for PPP loans.

Last year, Republican Vicki Hartzler of Harrisonville, whose family owns several farms and equipment suppliers, also looked into getting PPP loans. The Kansas City Star reported that Governor Mike Parson received a $ 6,288 PPP loan for his Bolivar livestock farm.

Fitzpatrick, 33, was named Treasurer of the State and took office in January 2019. The office was vacated by Eric Schmitt, who was named attorney general by Parson following the resignation of Josh Hawley, who took a seat in the US Senate.

He won the full term in November 2020, easily beating Democrat Vicki Englund by 31 percentage points.

He announced he was running for government auditor on Thursday, the day after donating $ 250,000 to his campaign committee.

Shippy said MariCorp US supports nearly 70 families and generates “millions of dollars in wages and taxes every year.”

Shippi said the company was eligible for a PPP loan and accepted the money “to protect families who rely on it for their paychecks.

“The company used every dollar of funding it received under the program to pay employees,” he said, “and fortunately did not lay off a single employee during the pandemic, despite skyrocketing labor and material costs.”

The Missouri Independent is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that covers the work of the state government and its impact on Missouri residents.

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