Washington, D.C.— Today, House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) requested that the Small Business Administration (SBA) release data related to COVID-19 relief programs. In her letter, Chairwoman Velázquez asks that the SBA comply with data requests from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) related to SBA’s coronavirus response programs, specifically the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program.
“I understand that SBA worked hard to get PPP and EIDL funds into the hands of small business owners quickly, but it is clear from the GAO and OIG reports that more can be done to reduce fraud and abuse within the economic relief programs,” wrote Chairwoman Velázquez. “The reports reinforce my commitment to ensuring these economic relief programs effectively reach the small businesses that are in dire need of assistance and we are good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars. To that end, the oversight entities must have access to the information needed to effectively perform their work”
On October 1st, the Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations held a hearing on the potential for fraud and abuse within the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and EIDL. Bill Shear, Director of Financial Markets and Community Investment at GAO, testified that SBA had not provided GAO with the data needed to complete its EIDL program audits. The GAO Access and Oversight Act of 2017 requires agencies to supply GAO with information related to a broad range of activities when requested. The lack of access to agency data has the potential to impede GAOs’ efforts to improve internal controls and fraud risk management within these programs. Chairwoman Velázquez expressed concern over the SBA’s lack of compliance and urged the agency to provide EIDL data and internal documents to the GAO by October 22nd, 2020.