Turning Point USA, a young conservative political organization run by Charlie Kirk, applied for a $1.2 million small business coronavirus loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), only to publicize an ideological rejection of it as “money from big government.”
Kirk, who tweeted on Wednesday that his organization was “rejecting” a loan, did not confirm whether Turning Point had in fact applied in the first place.
“Accepting any form of government assistance would be in violation of our beliefs at Turning Point USA,” he explained, before adding in a further statement that “our board instructed us to begin the initial process exploring this option, but today we are announcing we are rejecting any and all taxpayer aid and staying completely independent.”
The group’s chief operating officer, Tyler Bowyer, then revealed in the comments of a public post on his Facebook page that the organization did in fact apply for the loan, only to reject it.
“We applied as soon as the gates opened before details were confirmed publicly and digestible (as you remember the bill was huge) and after researching and seeing the strings attached it is clear this is not the appropriate action,” he explained. “We certainly considered the loan and simply repaying it, but believe that government lacks the ability to ensure accountability with taxpayer dollars.”
Bowyer added that the move, which Kirk publicized in an op-ed for the Daily Caller, did not amount to “any contempt for business owners doing the right thing for their business.”
“We live off of donations and as you can imagine this is a tough time for all non-profits to raise money!” he stated. Turning Point USA has over 200 full-time employees between its Phoenix headquarters and its nationwide field staff.
PPP has been one of the most popular programs passed under the $2.2 trillion phase-three CARES Act, but ran out of its initial funding of $349 billion earlier this month after the Small Business Administration said it approved over 1.6 million loan applications. Last week, the Treasury Department said it would ask approximately 150 publicly-traded companies to repay nearly $600 million in loans that they received from PPP, before the program was replenished with another $310 billion in funding on Friday.