The federal government has been called out for sponsoring “taxpayer-paid hate,” and letting millions of Americans and small businesses suffer while helping hate groups.
After nearly four years of setbacks by the Trump administration on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, a new report found that millions of dollars in taxpayer funds in the federal coronavirus Payroll Protection Program went to groups and businesses with a history of anti-LGBTQ advocacy.
The taxpayer loans from the program established in March by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were intended to help small businesses stay afloat during the economic downturn due to the COVID pandemic, and can be transformed into subsidies that will not need to be paid back.
Funding Hate Groups
But after reviewing the data for the new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from the Small Business Administration, an analysis of the payments by NBC News, found that beneficiaries of the loan program included seven entities that have been identified as “anti-LGBTQ hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). According to records, a total of $2.5 million in PPP funds were paid to these organizations.
These include the American College of Pediatricians, the Center for Family and Human Rights, Church Militant/St. Michel’s Media, Liberty Counsel, Pacific Justice Institute, Ruth Institute, and American Family Association.
The entities in question pushed back against the claims by the SPLC, or chose not to respond to NBC’s requests for comment.
SPLC senior research analyst Cassie Miller told NBC that the federal government has sponsored “taxpayer-paid hate,” adding that it let millions of Americans and small businesses suffer, while helping hate groups by handing them millions of dollars in forgivable loans.
Doling Out Millions
Other anti-LGBTQ organizations received taxpayer funds. These include the school where Karen Pence, Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, teaches. Immanuel Christian School in northern Virginia prohibits employees from engaging in or condoning “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity” and “transgender identity.” The school also states that it may refuse admission or discontinue enrollment of a student whose household condones homosexual or bisexual activity.
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Trinity Schools, where US Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was once a trustee, got more than $1 million. That institution effectively barred admission to children of same-sex parents and made it plain that openly gay and lesbian teachers weren’t welcome in the classroom.
“Extremist movements thrive in climates of political uncertainty,” Miller said. “Now, the government is doing even more to help hate groups by handing them millions of dollars in forgivable loans.”
But extremists were not the only beneficiaries of the PPP loans. A report released by Bailout Watch, Public Citizen, and Friends of the Earth found that under President Donald Trump the fossil fuel industry received between $10.4 billion and $15.2 billion in economic relief.