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Luetkemeyer: Biden’s SBA Continues to Fight Back on Transparency and Accountability

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) issued the following statement on penning a letter to the Small Business Administrator, the Honorable Isabella Guzman, regarding the SBA’s disagreements with the GAO on oversight improvements of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF):

“I am at a loss of words about the fact that the SBA chose to disagree with several recommendations to improve oversight and efficiency. One recommendation the SBA disagreed with would improve the recovery of fraudulently obtained funds from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. These recommendations are both valid and common-sense suggestions to improve the SBA’s pandemic relief effort. Once again, the Biden Administration continues to puzzle me on their efforts at being transparent and accountable to the American taxpayer,” said Ranking Member Luetkemeyer.

Read the full GAO report here.

Read the full letter here.

Read key excerpts of the letter:

“The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) was established in March 2021 with the purpose of supporting small restaurant establishments suffering from COVID-19 revenue losses.  Appropriations for the fund totaled 28.6 billion, which was disbursed over a two-month period.  The purpose of this engagement was for the GAO to review the RRF, the program’s internal controls, and its fraud risk management practices, along with the SBA’s efforts to monitor RRF grantees. Among the findings in the audit, the GAO determined that the oversight controls for pre-awards had deficiencies and that the ‘SBA Has Limited Post-Award Controls for Identifying Fraudulent or Ineligible Recipients.’ The GAO concluded that ‘a more balanced approach to oversight’ is required within the RRF program and provided seven recommendations to the Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access to implement.

“Shockingly, the SBA disagreed with five out of the seven recommendations, partly agreed with one, and fully agreed with the GAO on only a single recommendation. After receiving feedback on the recommendations from the SBA officials, the GAO maintains that all recommendations are valid, as discussed in the report. Given the SBA’s commitment to implement sound fraud control practices, as recommended by the GAO, to safeguard taxpayer funds, I am at a loss as to the level of disagreement between the agency and the GAO.”