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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. Treasury Department is pointing the finger at lenders for errors discovered in Monday's PPP data disclosure.

What they're saying: "Companies listed had their PPP applications entered into SBA’s Electronic Transmission (ETran) system by an approved PPP lender. If a lender did not cancel the loan in the ETran system, the loan is listed," a senior administration official said.

This explanation makes the most sense for phantom loans like the one listed for e-scooter company Bird, given that the SBA shouldn't otherwise have its financial information.

What we still don't know, however, is how many errors were made. I'm now hearing more talk of audits, although it remains unclear exactly what form they would take.

There also was a ton of reporting yesterday about PPP loans received by companies with ties to people like Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, Nancy Pelosi, and Joe Biden.

  • Such disclosure carries not just the intrinsic value of transparency for taxpayers, and also serve as receipts if politicians later criticize PPP or claim to have not really supported it.
  • But, but, but: There isn't anything wrong with any of these connections, so long as the loan recipient was truthful in the application. PPP was primarily designed to keep people on payroll, whether a small-town bartender or a front-desk worker at a Trump-branded hotel. It was an intentionally blunt instrument that didn't discriminate by the wealth or connections of someone's employer.

What's next: Soon we could get a better picture about how many payrolls were actually protected, as loan forgiveness applications are submitted and processed.

  • Treasury provided an estimate of 51 million jobs, but that's already coming under scrutiny (and not just because of phantom loans).

Go deeper

July's jobs report could be an inflection point for the coronavirus recovery

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Axios Visuals

Even if Friday's jobs report shows a big number, it is becoming clear hiring slowed and likely even reversed course in July and real-time indicators suggest the employment situation worsened into August.

Driving the news: Payroll processor ADP's monthly jobs report showed private companies added 167,000 jobs last month, well below the 1.2 million expected by economists and far below June's 4.8 million jobs added.

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas "alternate" Trump electors

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) addresses the media after a House Jan. 6 select committee hearing in July 2021. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Friday announced subpoenas for more than a dozen people who led groups of "alternate electors" for former President Trump.

Why it matters: Slates of fake electors organized by pro-Trump forces in the wake of the 2020 election have come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks around the one-year anniversary of the attack.

Swastikas found outside Union Station in D.C.

People walk through Union Station on Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Drawings of swastikas appeared etched around the entrance to Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

Driving the news: "An investigation is underway with Amtrak Police and the Metropolitan Police Department after swastikas were reported on the exterior of Washington Union Station on Friday," Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in a statement to Axios.