After Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program in May, Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Terrie Rizzo wasted no time stepping before a microphone to blast the legislation as a “disaster” whose only purpose was to act as a handout to rich corporations. From high atop her moral high horse, Rizzo neglected to mention that one of those rich corporations…was her own organization.
While Florida Democrats were taking potshots at Republicans for funneling money to the 1%, their organization was busy applying for a piece of that pie themselves. Records show that that the Florida Democratic Party applied for a PPP loan in May, and now that their greed has been exposed, they are sheepishly returning at least $780,000 in small-business loans.
The party immediately applied for the loan after Congress first passed the $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program, known as PPP, even though there was discussion at the time that the money should go to neither lobbyists nor political causes.
As Republicans lobbed bombs at the party, Florida Democratic lawmakers were outraged as well, stung by the decision and their own potential political exposure. The party is currently underwriting the salaries of campaign staff throughout Florida, including those working to elect Joe Biden, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, in the nation’s biggest battleground state.
In a stern conversation on Wednesday with Rizzo, Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) demanded that the party return the money and told the chairwoman she wouldn’t participate in a Friday news conference to push back on President Donald Trump’s proposed visit to her hometown of Miami, two sources familiar with the conversation told POLITICO.
As the outrage swelled this week, the party released a statement: “Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Plan to support employers and their efforts to provide funds to keep people working — and like many employers during the shutdown, FDP was concerned about meeting payroll and keeping our staff employed, so we applied.
“The bank, the loan processor and agents of the Small Business Association approved the funding,” the statement continued. “It now seems they made a mistake in approving the funding so we are volunteering to return it. As a Democratic Party we are entering this election stronger than ever, with a growing staff and a commitment to electing a President that will address this crisis, rebuild our economy and heal the nation. That President is Joe Biden.”
Hey, they approved the loan. How were WE to know, as a political organization, that we weren’t supposed to dip our hands into the cookie jar? Gee, we were too busy focusing on all the OTHER people who shouldn’t be getting the money to even think about ourselves…
Corruption and hypocrisy, thy name is the Democratic Party.