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Missouri Rep Hartzler Reveals How Much Coronavirus Relief Went to Family Businesses
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=54955"><span class="small">Bryan Lowry, McClatchy DC</span></a>   
Sunday, 05 July 2020 13:04

Lowry writes: "Rep. Vicky Hartzler's family's businesses received nearly $480,000 from a federal program designed to keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic, the Missouri Republican disclosed Thursday."

Vicky Hartzler. (photo: Don Shrubshell/Tribune)
Vicky Hartzler. (photo: Don Shrubshell/Tribune)

Missouri Rep Hartzler Reveals How Much Coronavirus Relief Went to Family Businesses

By Bryan Lowry, McClatchy DC

05 July 20


ep. Vicky Hartzler’s family’s businesses received nearly $480,000 from a federal program designed to keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic, the Missouri Republican disclosed Thursday. 

Hartzler’s announcement comes ahead of plans by the Small Business Administration to release names of businesses that obtained loans of more than $150,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program. The temporary program was launched in April to help businesses pay workers during coronavirus-related shutdowns.

Heartland Tractor Company, a firm owned by Hartzler and her husband, received a loan of $451,200, which helped preserve 54 jobs, according to a statement to The Star which provides more specific dollar figures than the SBA’s upcoming data release. Hartzler Farms also received a loan of $26,900 to retain three employees.

“This program has helped employees keep food on the table, pay their rent, and meet their car payments. The program protects paychecks across the state, including employees at the small business owned by my husband and me,” Hartzler said in a statement. 

“We, like small business owners all across the country, are grateful for this program because it enabled our employees, who have become like family after working with us for so many years, to be financially sound during these difficult times.”

Both the tractor company and the farm are valued at between $1 million to $5 million, according to the financial disclosure Hartzler filed last year with the House. 

Hartzler’s farm previously benefited from a separate program that bailed out farmers adversely affected by President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. Her farm had received more than $100,000 last year to compensate for 2018 losses. 

Hartzler, who lives in Cass County, is one of several members of Congress to benefit from the Paycheck Protection Program, which did not restrict participation by lawmakers or their spouses. 

The congresswoman, whose district stretches from the Kansas City area to central Missouri, first acknowledged in April that her husband applied for and received a loan from the program. But she initially declined to disclose the amount and which of the family’s several businesses had applied. 

Lawmakers of both parties have lauded the program for helping prevent many businesses from going under during the pandemic. But the Trump administration’s initial refusal to name recipients and the revelation that it exempted lawmakers and federal officials from ethics reviews when applying for loans has raised bipartisan concerns about transparency. 

Lindsey Simmons, the Hallsville Democrat challenging Hartzler in Missouri’s 4th congressional district, had repeatedly called on Hartzler to reveal the size of the loans her family businesses received. Simmons criticized Hartzler Thursday for waiting until July.

“It’s incredibly troubling that a sitting member of Congress is only willing to come clean when they’re about to be caught and the SBA is about to release information,” said Simmons, an attorney who has previously worked for former Sen. Claire McCaskill among other prominent Democrats.

She noted that the amount the Heartland Tractor Company received was nearly four times larger than the average PPP loan and that Hartzler has a history of taking advantage of government programs.

“I definitely believe that our campaign pushing for accountability and people in the district pushing for accountability got the ball rolling for her to disclose how much taxpayer money she’s taken.” 

Hartzler emphasized in her statement that her husband’s application for the loans was in accordance with House ethics rules. She said more than 90,000 Missouri businesses had received loans from the program for a total of $9.1 billion to businesses in the state.

The program officially closed June 30, but on Tuesday the Senate passed an extension through the first week of August to enable more businesses to apply. Hartzler called on House leadership to take up the legislation quickly. 

“Keeping people working has been one of the highest priorities of this Congress during this difficult time. During this national emergency, hardworking people should be able to focus on keeping their families safe and safeguarding their own health, not worrying about how to pay the rent,” she said. your social media marketing partner
Last Updated on Sunday, 05 July 2020 13:17