The Florida Democratic Party has announced it is returning $780,000 in small business loans to the federal government after it was learned that funds from the Paycheck Protection Plan should not have been approved.
Annisa Karim, chairwoman of the Collier County Democratic Party, noted that none of these dollars were used to support operations locally.
“Our local Collier County Democratic Party is an all-volunteer organization and did not apply for or receive any of these funds,” she said. “Our fundraising efforts—which go to support our outstanding candidates—are all raised right here in southwest Florida.”
The state party organization has come under fire—both internally and externally—for receiving the federal dollars, but “is absolutely doing the right thing in returning those funds,” Karim said. “We hope that other political organizations will follow the Florida Democratic Party’s lead.”
Businesses connected to Republican Florida congressmen Matt Gaetz and Vern Buchanan have also received PPP funds as have the accounting firm run by the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Trump International Hotel & Tower at Waikiki, and companies owned by the family of Mitch McConnell’s wife and Jared Kushner.
In explaining its action, the Florida Democratic Party said:
“Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Plan to support employers and their efforts to provide funds to keep people working — and like many employers during the shutdown, FDP was concerned about meeting payroll and keeping our staff employed, so we applied. The bank, the loan processor and agents of the Small Business Association approved the funding. It now seems they made a mistake in approving the funding so we are volunteering to return it. As a Democratic Party we are entering this election stronger than ever, with a growing staff and a commitment to electing a president that will address this crisis, rebuild our economy and heal the nation. That president is Joe Biden.”