CLEVLEAND — U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) wrote a letter to the Treasury Secretary and the Small Business Administration asking that small business owners with criminal records be allowed to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides forgivable loans to small business that keep their employees on payroll during the COVID-19 crisis.
The current policy of the program denies applicants if the business has “an owner of 20 percent or more of the equity of the applicant [who] is incarcerated, on probation, on parole; presently subject to an indictment, criminal information, arraignment, or other means by which formal criminal charges are brought in any jurisdiction; or has been convicted of a felony within the last five years.”
In the letter, Portman and Cardin said by not allowing business owners with criminal records to have access to the funds, it denies them a second chance.
“Preventing emergency loans from being distributed to businesses owned by individuals with criminal records will have catastrophic consequences for people who have done exactly what society asked of them: they turned away from crime, started a business to support themselves and their families, and contributed to their communities," the senators said in the letter.
Read the full letter here.