Update – November 13, 2020
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was granted a temporary stay today by the Federal judge who ordered the agency to release detailed information on PPP and EIDL borrowers earlier this month. The temporary stay means that SBA will not have to release this information by November 19, as the judge originally ordered. The plaintiffs in this case were given until November 27 to respond to SBA’s request for a full stay pending appeal.
On Thursday, November 5, 2020, a Federal judge in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) release detailed information, including names, addresses and precise loan amounts, for all individuals and entities that obtained COVID-related Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) by November 19, 2020. This includes the names and addresses of PPP borrowers whose loans were less than $150,000, as well as those sole proprietors and independent contractors receiving EIDL loans. Detailed information about these borrowers and loans was not previously released by the SBA.
This ruling is the result of a number of lawsuits filed by various national news organizations and public-interest groups earlier this year, after SBA declined to release detailed information about all PPP borrowers, following Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by these organizations for such data. It is unclear at this time whether SBA will appeal this ruling.
While it is understandable that many borrowers would rather not have detailed information about their business and loan amounts disclosed to the general public, the Judge’s ruling states that this should not be unexpected, based on the notices or language contained in the applications forms that borrowers completed.
All individuals and businesses seeking PPP and EIDL loans completed application forms. The PPP application contained a series of notices, including a FOIA-related disclaimer that read, in relevant part:
Subject to certain exceptions, SBA must supply information reflected in agency files and records to a person requesting it. Information about approved loans that will be automatically released includes, among other things, statistics on our loan programs (individual borrowers are not identified in the statistics) and other information such as the names of the borrowers (and their officers, directors, stockholders or partners), the collateral pledged to secure the loan, the amount of the loan, its purpose in general terms and the maturity. Proprietary data on a borrower would not routinely be made available to third parties [PPP Application Form at p.4 (emphasis added); Manger 2d Decl., ¶ 17].
SBA expressly informed potential PPP borrowers that their “names” and “amount of the loan” received would be “automatically released” upon a FOIA request. Similarly, SBA told EIDL applicants that FOIA “generally” requires it to release “information such as names of borrowers,” as well as “loan amounts at maturity.” [SBA, COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application at PDF p.12, (EIDL Application Form)].
All loan applicants were thus on notice that their names and approved loan amounts would be public record.
For additional information on the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as other Federal, state and local relief measures, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center on our website. If you have any questions, please contact your Tronconi Segarra & Associates advisor or a member of our response team at