Under the Small Business Administration rules, a PPP loan could be used only to meet payroll and pay mortgage interest, leases or utility bills. PPP loan recipients weren’t prohibited from paying investors with other funds, as long as the PPP funds were kept separate.
Still, some advocacy groups believe that companies that had enough cash on hand to pay millions in dividends and stock purchases were unlikely to qualify for the PPP program, which was designed to assist troubled companies in keeping employees on the payroll during weeks when they were unable to do business because of pandemic-related lockdowns.
“The Trump administration wrote the PPP rules and sent billions of dollars to the well-resourced and well-connected rather than actual small businesses struggling during this public health and economic crisis,” said Kyle Herrig, president of an advocacy group called Accountable.US. “The fact that there was little transparency or accountability under this