Vaccine critics have received more than $ 1 million in pandemic relief loans, World News
The paycheck protection program’s flexible rules have made it possible for virtually any small business or corporation in the United States to qualify for a government-backed relief loan. Frustrated citizens and activist groups criticized thousands of recipients they deemed unworthy, including wealthy lawyers, politicians and political lobbyists, publicly traded companies and companies under government investigation .
Now, the federal loan program has drawn criticism for granting loans to organizations that have challenged vaccine safety.
According to data from the Small Business Administration, which manages the program, six organizations that claimed scientists called bogus received paycheck protection program loans totaling more than $ 1.1 million. The data was released last month under a court order, in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York Times and other news outlets.
The groups that received the loans are Children’s Health Defense, an organization founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr .; the Informed Consent Action Network; the National Vaccine Information Center; Mercola.com Health Resources and Mercola Consulting Services, both affiliated with prominent vaccine skeptic Joseph Mercola; and the Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center, a medical practice run by Sherri Tenpenny, physician and author.
The loans, which were made by banks and backed by the government in an attempt to avoid the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, ranged from $ 72,500 at Tenpenny Medical Center to $ 335,000 at Mercola.com.
The loans did not appear to break Small Business Administration rules: Paycheck Protection Program loans were available to any small business or non-profit organization (typically those with 500 or fewer employees) willing to certify that ” the current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary “to support their continued operations. Representatives of the Small Business Administration did not respond to questions about the loans.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate, a London-based advocacy group, discovered the loans, and the Washington Post first reported on it.
“There is an anomaly here,” said Imran Ahmed, the group’s chief executive. “PPP was necessary to deal with the economic shock of COVID, and anti-vaxxers fundamentally inhibit our ability to defeat and overcome COVID. “