In a passive-aggressive report from The Daily Beast, the PPP loans taken by numerous politicians—namely Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) and her leading challenger, April Becker—are causing The Beast some concern. Alluding to taxpayer protection, The Beast claims that these loans should not be forgiven, but paid in full to protect the taxpayers who financed these loans through the government program.
In its story, “Casino Tied To Dem Congresswoman Wants to Keep Its Covid Loan Money,” The Beast claims:
“Last year, Lee notched a major win for her Las Vegas-area district by successfully pushing for casinos to gain access to the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which doled out loans to businesses hit hard by the pandemic.
That move in turn extended a lifeline to Lee and her family. Full House Resorts—a gaming company run by Lee’s husband that the congresswoman personally has a direct financial stake in—applied for and received millions of dollars worth of those loans, The Daily Beast reported in June 2020.
Full House has recovered nicely since then. But in a new twist, the casino is now arguing that taxpayers should pick up the full tab for the $5.6 million government-backed cash infusion that kept them afloat.
According to a new report filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it applied for loan forgiveness to the Small Business Administration and believes it will qualify.
If so, Uncle Sam would be granting a windfall to a business whose value on the New York Stock Exchange has tripled from pre-pandemic levels. And this spring, the company—which operates five resort properties in Nevada, Colorado, Mississippi, and Indiana—expanded one of its Colorado properties with a $3.4 million purchase that included a ’boutique hotel.’
That windfall would save Full House’s shareholders a good chunk of change. And Lee herself is a major shareholder in the company: in her most recent official financial disclosure form, she reported millions of dollars of stock and stock options in the company, stored in a variety of investment accounts.
In May 2021, Lee announced that she and her husband, Daniel, were getting divorced. Her August 2021 financial disclosure lists a number of jointly held investments in Full House, but also a stake of at least $1 million—and as much as $5 million—of stock in the company that is solely owned by her.
In response to questions for this article, a spokesperson for Lee said the congresswoman ‘is not involved in any aspect of Full House’s business or decision making. She had no influence over the decision to file for PPP loan forgiveness, and, of course, has no say over whether or not that application is approved.’
Full House did not respond to an emailed request for comment.”
An average reader may find this move by Full House greedy or, at the very least, “unfair.”
But to a businessperson whose businesses were forcefully shuttered by federal and state government, a PPP loan was often the only way for their business, and their employees, to survive during bureaucratic mandates that had, and still have, no end date in sight. Although the casinos that survived have reopened, additional mandates have placed increased costs, employment burdens, and random, unannounced bureaucratic surveillance which can result in tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of fines in a financial quarter. With this continued economic uncertainty and ongoing regulatory chokeholds, some casinos operators continue to struggle and some have placed blame on Governor Sisolak’s Covid mandates.
Moreover, PPP loans contained clauses which granted forgiveness if the business reinvested eighty percent of the loaned amount into expanding the business. According to The Beast’s own reporting, Full House expanded into Colorado, reinvesting sixty percent of their loan in a boutique hotel. If the other four properties expanded by 5% respectively, Full House should be forgiven according to the terms of the loan.
However, Rep. Lee’s answer is at best vague, and at worse, weak. What took this English major a few short sentences to explain could have just as easily beeb pointed out by Rep. Lee, a major stakeholder in Full House.
Up next, The Beast takes aim at Lee’s leading challenger, April Becker, who received a $600,000 PPP loan.
Curiously though, the Beast never sought Becker’s comment regarding this loan. Instead, The Beast took a swipe at her outspoken stance against President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, a plan that Rep. Lee enthusiastically supports.
Congresswoman Susie Lee: Says she was "proud to vote for the 'American Rescue plan' to get the necessary resources they need for the classroom so they can open schools safely and keep schools open safely." #8NN #CCSD pic.twitter.com/9JvXDI1ZYT
— 8 News Now (@8NewsNow) March 5, 2021
The Beast scolds: “Plenty of candidates for office have also benefited from the program, including Lee’s likely Republican opponent, April Becker, who herself operates a gambling business that received over $600,000 in PPP loans in 2020 and 2021. Becker has criticized President Joe Biden for ‘socialist spending,’ referring to the $1.9 trillion, Democrat-backed American Rescue Plan that extended the pandemic loan program Becker’s businesses utilized.”
The glaring difference between the American Rescue Plan and the Paycheck Protection Program is that the tax payers aren’t loaning money to the government with terms and conditions clearly spelled out for reimbursement. The government has never been the lendee in this historical tax and spend relationship. The government simply spends, finds more ways to spend, and when it runs out of money to spend, politicians simply raise taxes, create new taxes, or slyly label tax increases as fees. If these new taxes and fees don’t satiate the needs of big government spending, the Federal Reserve simply prints money and causes inflation–which is a tax.
Since, according to Becker, The Beast never reached out to her for a statement, The Globe picked up the slack. In a comment to The Globe, Becker stated:
“Our family-owned businesses were forced to shut down by the government. We were left to the whims of a Governor [Sisolak] who has no idea how a legitimate business operates. After exhausting our reserves, we took the loan to be able to pay our employees, Nevadans, who couldn’t work because their own government said they couldn’t. Every Nevadan understands this frustration, whether they are business owners, employees, or just customers and consumers.”
A pretty clear statement and one that was not so hard to get. If only they’d bothered to ask.
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