Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is facing criticism from lawmakers and watchdog groups after refusing to disclose the businesses that received more than $500 billion in government-backed emergency loans.

Mnuchin ignited controversy on Wednesday when he said the Trump administration will not reveal the names of companies and nonprofits that got the so-called Paycheck Protection Program loans, which are guaranteed by the taxpayer and can be forgiven in full if borrowers maintain their payrolls.


A senior House Democratic aide said lawmakers need to know the information to assess whether the administration is "trying to hide bad decisions, and the true impact of the PPP program, especially in meeting the needs of underserved communities."

Rep. Ben McAdams, a Utah Democrat who serves on the House Financial Services Committee, said "transparency, not secrecy, is the only way to keep faith with citizens that their money is getting to those for whom it was intended." "What part of `it's taxpayer money' does he not understand?" he said of Mnuchin.

The SBA has also withheld information from the Government Accountability Office, the watchdog agency that serves Congress. The GAO confirmed on Friday that it has received no information about when SBA will provide data the agency requested on the loans and the separate Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

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