U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s office would not disclose details of the small business loans her family received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
Asked Wednesday for more information about loans received from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, Hartzler spokesperson Danny Jativa said he did not know other details, such as which businesses received the loans.
Jativa said he would not request more information from Hartzler because it is not his business to pry into her personal affairs.
Lindsey Simmons, Hartzler’s Democratic opponent for her House seat, said she is concerned by Hartzler’s lack of transparency regarding the Paycheck Protection funding.
“The fact that she was unwilling to disclose it is more concerning than the fact that she received it,” Simmons said.
According to her most recent financial disclosure from April 2019, Hartzler received business income from Hartzler Farms and Heartland Tractor Company.
Simmons said CARES Act funding should be no exception to the requirement that members of Congress report financial information to reveal potential conflicts.
“I think it’s important for people who are elected to public office to fully disclose when there is at least an appearance of a conflict of interest,” she said.
In a press release earlier this week, Simmons criticized Hartzler’s opposition to a congressional subcommittee to oversee coronavirus spending and called on Hartzler to disclose whether she had received Paycheck Protection funding. Jativa then told the Columbia Tribune on Tuesday that Hartzler family businesses had received the loans.
Jativa told the Missourian that Hartzler opposed creating the subcommittee because it is redundant and politically motivated. He also said there are no restrictions in the CARES Act that would prevent Hartzler’s businesses from receiving funding.
The Paycheck Protection Program is intended to help small businesses keep their employees on the payroll. The Small Business Administration will forgive the loans if all employees continue to be paid for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities, according to the SBA website.
The program ran out of money in mid-April, but recently received more funding and started accepting applications again on Monday.