Liberal elites such as millionaire actor Robert De Niro and ranking House Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s husband lined their pockets at the expensive hard-working taxpayers by siphoning off Paycheck Protection Program money.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin expressed outrage that millionaires and companies worth billions secured loans intended for mom and pop businesses to protect vulnerable workers. The LA. Lakers grabbed $4.6 million and the Ruth’s Crisp chain restaurants funneled $20 million into their coffers, among others.
“I think that’s outrageous,” Secretary Mnuchin reportedly said.
Secretary Mnuchin has insisted that organizations with alternative resources should not try to access the stimulus. As the package cleared Congress, Democrats refused to accept legislation put forward by Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst that would require any loans connected to lawmakers to be promptly and publicly disclosed.
“The PPP has saved countless businesses and the jobs of millions of Americans, but those in Congress who are voting on it or any issue where a potential conflict of interest may exist need to be upfront about it,” Sen. Ernst reportedly said. “The only reason to oppose this bill is if you have something to hide.”
That’s precisely what the husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tried. Paul Pelosi holds a stake in EDI Associates worth upwards of $500,000. EDI Associated reports having a partnership in the luxury El Dorado Hotel and a stake in Piatti Restaurant Company. The outfit swiped as much as $2.4 million in PPP money meant for struggling businesses.
Speaker Pelosi tried to shrug off the loan as something the power couple knew nothing about. But securing $2.4 million in cold, hard taxpayer cash isn’t something that goes unnoticed, even if Nancy Pelosi is the third wealthiest member of the House at a net worth of more than $120 million. All told, PPP “loans” linked to the families of members of Congress tallied nearly $14 million.
“There is no reason to offer forgivable government loans to businesses that have been only marginally hurt, especially when the program has a cap on it,” Stifel Financial CEO Ron Kruszewski reportedly said. “Going forward, everyone should be required to demonstrate true financial hardship in order to have these loans forgiven. It is imperative to ensure this money ends up in the hands of those who need it most.”
Wealthy celebrities were also at the front of the line to bilk the system. Vocal anti-Trump, Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro hauled in 14 loans for a whopping $27.7 million to buoy his high-end restaurant franchise called Nobu.
The Nobu group ranks among the top restaurant beneficiaries of the PPP and more than doubled the payoff of national chain Shake Shack. De Niro’s Nobu restaurant group was reportedly on pace to exceed $1 billion in annual revenue by 2023. He enjoys a reported personal network of approximately $500 million.
The high-profile actor has been embroiled in a messy divorce and opposing counsel has gone on the record claiming he’s using the pandemic as an excuse to not pay his estranged wife her fair share. In a statement that stunned working Americans, De Niro’s lawyer, Caroline Krauss, reportedly said he “is going to be lucky if he makes $7.5 million this year.”
Apparently, celebrities who fall below $10 million in annual revenue deserve middle-class and low-income families to support their lavish lifestyles with a bailout.