The Small Business Administration must release detailed information for all Paycheck Protection Program loans, including names of borrowers and precise loan amounts, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
The SBA had previously released detailed information only for PPP loans above $150,000, a fraction of the loans issued. The ruling also applies to loans under the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“The significant public interest in shedding light on SBA’s administration of the PPP and EIDL program dramatically outweighs any limited private interest in nondisclosure,” U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington wrote in his order.
The ruling followed a suit by news organizations that sought the data under the Freedom of Information Act. Plaintiffs included Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal.
The judge set a Nov. 19 deadline for the SBA to release the information on all individuals and entities that received a coronavirus-related loan through the PPP and EIDL program.
The SBA has argued that disclosing the names of loan recipients could violate their privacy because PPP loans correspond to the size of a business’s payroll.
In rejecting the SBA’s request to keep the information confidential, Boasberg noted that “the PPP loan application expressly notified potential borrowers—admittedly in a form disclaimer—that their names and loan amounts would be ’automatically released’ upon an FOIA request.” Read the full story.