Within the trillions of dollars in federal relief funds Congress allocated for small businesses crippled by the coronavirus economy was the $659 billion Paycheck Protection Program, a program created to help small businesses and nonprofit groups with fewer than 500 employees continue to pay their workers.
But according to a July analysis published by the Associated Press, a special exemption to the 500-employee prerequisite allowed for at least $1.4 billion to go to groups affiliated with the Catholic Church. The exemption made the church one of the program’s biggest benefactors.
The church’s take may have even exceeded $3.5 billion, the AP reports.
“Houses of worship and faith-based organizations that promote religious beliefs aren’t usually eligible for money from the U.S. Small Business Administration. But as the economy plummeted and jobless rates soared, Congress let faith groups and other nonprofits tap into the Paycheck Protection Program, a $659 billion fund created to keep Main Street open and Americans employed,” the AP reports. “By aggressively promoting the payroll program and marshaling resources to help affiliates navigate its shifting rules, Catholic dioceses, parishes, schools and other ministries have so far received approval for at least 3,500 forgivable loans, AP found.”
Read the full report over at The Associated Press.
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