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Democrats accuse SBA of illegally blocking oversight of lending program

“To date, SBA has not granted GAO access to all requested SBA officials for interviews and, according to GAO, SBA officials who have been interviewed have not been fully cooperative in providing timely, fulsome and transparent responses to interview questions,” the Democrats added. SBA also has not provided GAO with loan level data on the Paycheck Protection Program.”

Lawmakers are asking SBA to “immediately comply” with the GAO requests for information and interviews, calling it a “violation of the law.” SBA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The GAO was tasked in the $2 trillion CARES Act with broad oversight over the programs established by the coronavirus relief law, one of several layers of oversight touted by Democrats to hold the administration in check as it implemented the sweeping new programs.

But the office has faced resistance from the Trump administration on sensitive matters before. GAO alleged that the White House and State Department stonewalled their inquiries into President Donald Trump’s handling of military aid to Ukraine, a central issue in the House’s impeachment inquiry.

The issue emerged a day after lawmakers sounded a similar alarm after inspectors general warned that the administration was narrowly construing their ability to monitor CARES Act implementation, arguing that their purview extended only to new governmentwide appropriations rather than PPP and other massive new programs meant to stabilize the economy.

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