* Yeah, he’s a conservative Republican. But the forgivable loan was for payroll. The idea was to keep people working during the most momentous economic downturn in American history. He didn’t pocket the money…
A dairy owned by Illinois Republican congressional candidate Jim Oberweis received a loan worth $5 million to $10 million from the federal rescue package aimed at helping small businesses weather the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released Monday.
Oberweis Dairy, the North Aurora-based business where Jim Oberweis is chairman, was approved for the Paycheck Protection Program on April 8, according to Treasury Department data.
Oberweis won the March GOP primary to challenge Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood for a Chicago-area congressional district that is one of Republicans’ top targets this fall. The businessman, who also is an Illinois state senator and an investment manager, has loaned his campaign $1.1 million so far this election cycle, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. His campaign has repaid $500,000 of that money, FEC reports show.
Oberweis bought the family business from his brother decades ago. The company operates over 40 ice cream stores and restaurants and has over 1,200 employees, according to his campaign website. The business is currently operated by Oberweis’ son, who is the company president. Oberweis says his role with the company is advisory and he does not receive a salary. His campaign website says his wife also works for the family business.
Oberweis said in a statement Monday the loan was used to pay for salaries and benefits for employees.
And, yes, a whole lot of small business owners, including lots of people of color, were locked out because their banks focused on big clients. And some companies applied for the money simply to avoid depleting huge reserves. But just because somebody’s name turns up on a list doesn’t mean they’re automatically bad. You do what you gotta do to keep the doors open. You may have a different take, and I’d love to hear it.
Now, if Oberweis opposes helping others after his own company was assisted and doesn’t have a sound explanation, that’s a different story and makes him fair game.
* Some major media outlets also applied for and received the loans…
Chicago Public Media, the nonprofit that operates WBEZ, got $2.8 million in PPP funding, a spokeswoman said. Federal help “enabled us to avoid layoffs or furloughs for any staff members during these past few months,” the spokeswoman said in June. Chicago Public Media ultimately laid off 12 employees.
The publishers of the Chicago Sun-Times and the Daily Herald also got loans of between $2 million and $5 million, as did many other familiar names in local business and culture, including:
The Buona Beef fast-food chain.
Home Run Inn pizzerias.
Navy Pier Inc.
Planned Parenthood of Illinois.
* More from Politico…
Schiff Hardin law firm in Chicago received between $5 million and $10 million. The firm counts Maggie Hickey as a partner — the attorney monitoring how the Chicago Police Department complies with a court order laying out reform.
Forde & O’Meara LLP, which represented Rahm Emanuel’s residency case when he first ran for mayor; and Finkel, Martwick, Colson P.C., where Sen. Robert Martwick works when he’s not in Springfield, are also on the PPP list.
And though House Speaker Mike Madigan’s law firm is listed, his spokeswoman tells Playbook that the Democratic Party leader withdrew his loan request so “no PPP funds were received.”
* Madigan spokesperson Eileen Boyce…
This SBA list represents applications submitted and approved, not loans processed. Like many businesses, an application for a PPP loan was submitted, but was withdrawn at the request of Speaker Madigan and Bud Getzendanner. No loans were processed and no PPP funds were received.
According to a Sun-Times analysis of all PPP loans in Illinois:
174,745 were below $150,000.
14,965 ranged from $150,000 to $350,000.
8,487 ranged between $350,000 to $1 million.
2,558 ranged between $1 million to $2 million.
1,147 ranged from $2 million to $5 million.
255 ranged from $5 million to $10 million.
* But I will admit I smirked hard when I read this…
Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, which says it “educates taxpayers on the true cost of government” and “the realities of costly government programs,” received between $150,000 and $300,000 in loans.
In a statement, Americans for Tax Reform claimed it “never opposed” the PPP program and defended the foundation’s decision to take government loans, which it said allowed the foundation to “maintain its employees without laying anyone off” after it was “badly hurt by the government shutdown.”
But ATR founder Grover Norquist has criticized the unemployment insurance provision of the CARES Act, which he said “delays recovery,” and signed a letter urging lawmakers not to approve a second stimulus bill.
The Ayn Rand Institute, named for conservative philosopher Ayn Rand, received a loan of between $350,000 and $1 million, which it called “partial restitution for government-inflicted losses.”
“It would be a terrible injustice for pro-capitalists to step aside and leave the funds to those indifferent or actively hostile to capitalism,” Ayn Rand Institute board member Harry Binswanger argued in May, stating that the organization would “take any relief money offered us.”