PPP money
In Oklahoma, 44 entities received between $5 million and $10 million from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, created to limit layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Screenshot)

Data released Monday indicate 64,280 Oklahoma entities have received about $5.5 billion in forgivable loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which Congress passed to support businesses and workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 57,000 business entities — including nonprofits — each received loans up to $149,999. Another 6,849 entities received more than $150,000, including 44 designated as having received between $5 million and $10 million.

As a group, that would mean those 44 organizations — which include Life Church, Compsource Mutual Insurance Company, Variety Care, Griffin Communications, the Osage Nation (as well as the Osage Nation Gaming Enterprise), McAfee & Taft, Rib Crib BBQ and Mazzio’s Pizza — received somewhere between $220 million and $440 million.

A spreadsheet featuring two tabs that outline Oklahoma PPP loans can be downloaded here. So far, identifying information has only been released for entities receiving more than $150,000.

Magnitude of PPP money draws scrutiny

Over the ensuing 24 hours, media and other entities dove into the data dump to highlight various interesting elements of the largest business bailout in U.S. history:

  • The Lost Ogle lampooned Life Church for its leader’s lavish lifestyle;
  • Several publications pointed out that companies owned by two of Oklahoma’s five representatives in Congress received PPP approval;
  • National publications also focused on firms tied to members of Congress, including one connected to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband;
  • Similarly, some articles examined PPP money obtained by firms connected to associates of President Donald Trump and members of his administration;
  • Some focused on other prominent individuals and entities — such as the Church of Scientology — that received PPP money;
  • Forbes chronicled that some vocal opponents of government spending efforts like the Paycheck Protection Program — such as the Ayn Rand Institute and Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform Foundation — received PPP money.

The Frontier reviewed the list of Oklahoma entities receiving PPP money, including two think tanks — the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and the Oklahoma Policy Institute — that each received between $150,000 and $300,000. Religious institutions received at least $90 million in Oklahoma, according to The Frontier’s tabulation.

A nonprofit news organization based in Tulsa, The Frontier noted that it received “around $48,500” in PPP money.

Other notes about PPP money in Oklahoma

Although the U.S. Small Business Administration issued a Paycheck Protection Program report on June 27, the data released via public records request appeared July 6, meaning the SBA report’s numbers appear to be a bit low. That also means some entities receiving PPP money may not be included in this spreadsheet.

Entities were asked to list a number of “jobs retained” when applying for PPP money. Among entities that received $150,000 or more, they reported a total of 355,366 “jobs retained.” For entities receiving less than $150,000, there were 264,987 reported “jobs retained.” Forgiveness of the PPP loans is directly tied to not terminating employment.

Some entities did not list any “jobs retained,” including Becco Contractors, Latshaw Drilling Company and Variety Care, which were three of the 44 Oklahoma entities that received between $5 million and $10 million.

The Osage Nation and the Osage Nation Gaming Enterprise both received between $5 million and $10 million, and both listed 500 “jobs retained,” which appears to be the maximum value allowed. Tribal nations qualified for more payments under the CARES Act than just PPP money.

The Osage News reported July 1 that the Osage Nation has received more than $44.8 million in CARES Act funding. The tribe’s 16-person COVID Task Force produced an implementation plan detailing allocation of the money, which includes more than $10 million to Osage members, $3 million for broadband internet and nearly $17 million in “food security” efforts. As part of securing the tribe’s food supply for the future, improvements to Osage Ranch are estimated to cost about $2.9 million, and $6 million worth of improvements are being made to Bird Creek Farms, including the construction of a 40,000-square-foot greenhouse and a 44,000-square-foot general use building.

The Osage Nation is also embarking on a 25,000-square-foot meat packing plant located on Osage trust land at its industrial park. Ground has already been broken on facility in Hominy, and it is expected to cost $8 million.

Meanwhile, the Osage Nation Gaming Enterprise was one of at least 28 entities with “casino” in their name or address to apply for and receive PPP money.

In the data released Monday, recipients of the loans are categorized by NAICS industry codes. Going by the NAICS numbers of loan recipients (which provide only a rough count, since some industries encompass more than one NAICS number), the largest number of loans of more than $150,000 went to the restaurant industry, with 321 entities receiving PPP money. Oil and gas support operations had the second-highest number (240), and private medical practices came in third with 201.

(Update: This story was updated at 2:35 p.m. Tuesday, July 7, to include additional information.)