Thursday, June 29, 2023

Think Tank IPS Settles False PPP Loan Allegations

Here is more from Politico:

The Institute for Policy Studies has agreed to pay more than half a million dollars to settle charges that the progressive think tank misrepresented its eligibility for a second draw of the Paycheck Protection Program created to help keep small businesses afloat during the Covid pandemic, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

— In February 2021, according to the settlement agreement, IPS applied for — and later received — a second PPP loan in the amount of $481,000, despite new restrictions on applicants for a second loan through the $953 billion program, including a prohibition organizations “primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities, including any entity that is organized for research or for engaging in advocacy in areas such as public policy or political strategy or otherwise describes itself as a think tank in any public documents.”

— Doing so required IPS to certify its eligibility under the program, despite describing itself online and in its corporate bylaws as an entity aiming to advance progressive policy in Washington. The Small Business Administration ultimately forgave both of the PPP loans IPS received through, along with interest accrued and lenders’ fees, according to the settlement agreement and ProPublica’s PPP loan tracker.

— In a statement, the think tank argued that as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, IPS by law isn’t allowed to spend more than 15 percent of its time lobbying or otherwise primarily engaged in political activities. “In our case,” IPS said of its time spent lobbying, “it’s less than 1 percent. We interpreted our status as consistent with the restriction and applied in good faith based on that interpretation.” Per the settlement agreement, IPS will repay the second loan, including interest.


In 2020, Think Tank Watch reported that think tanks received millions in PPP loans.