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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

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Aug 6, 2020 - Economy & Business

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.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases — Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  4. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Leon Black says he "made a terrible mistake" doing business with Jeffrey Epstein

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Rick Friedman/Corbis/Getty Images

Apollo Global Management CEO Leon Black on Thursday said during an earnings call that he made a "terrible mistake" by employing Jeffrey Epstein to work on personal financial and philanthropic services.

Why it matters: Apollo is one of the world's largest private equity firms, and already has lost at least one major client over Black's involvement with Epstein.