Tag: covid relief

Background Briefing: June 28, 2023


The SBA Finds That Over $200 Billion Was Stolen From Covid Relief Funds With Billions More Unaccounted For

We begin with an alarming report from the Inspector General of the Small Business Administration that finds over $200 billion from the PPP and Covid relief funds was stolen and went to fraudsters. It is likely that up to 17% of Covid relief funds ended up with scammers with additional losses of $28 billion from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and $76 billion in fraud from the DOL unemployment assistance programs with an additional $115 billion that went to people who should not have received benefits. Joining us is Nick Schwellenbach, a senior investigator at the Project on Government Oversight who was previously the communications director at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the main federal agency in charge of protecting whistleblowers, during a period when it won bipartisan praise for restoring trust in the agency. We discuss what has been learned from this massive theft from the taxpayer and what auditing and vetting procedures will be employed in the future.


The Terrible Electoral Systems We Are Left With After the Supreme Court Voted Down an Outrageous GOP Power Grab

Then we examine what can be done to recuse the pro-Trump Judge Cannon from presiding over the upcoming trial and, having avoided an attempt by Republicans to get the Supreme Court to enact the outrageously partisan Independent State Legislature voting scheme, we look into the terrible electoral system we are left with having avoided the worst. We speak with John Bonifaz, the co-Founder and President of Free Speech For People who previously served as the Executive Director and General Counsel of the National Voting Rights Institute, and as the Legal Director of Voter Action, and discuss the letter at Free Speech for People he sent to the Chief Judge of the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida calling for the recusal of Judge Cannon from United States v. Donald Trump.


What is Being Discussed and Could Emerge From Talks Between the US and Iran in Oman and New York?

 Then finally we investigate what is being discussed and what might emerge from meetings in Oman between representatives of Iran and the US as well as in New York via direct talks between US envoy Robert Malley and Iran’s UN Ambassador and speak with Juan Cole, a professor of Modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan. He is also the author of the blog Informed Comment at JuanCole.com and the author of Engaging the Muslim World, and most recently, Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires.