Image via Shuttestock Rep. Mike Kelly
Image via Shuttestock

Kelly’s car dealerships received the federal funding back in April under the Paycheck Protection Program, which was created by Congress to help ease the economic impact of the coronavirus.

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of Butler County received as much as $1 million in federal coronavirus relief loans for his car dealerships. 

Kelly owns three car dealerships outside of Pittsburgh: Mike Kelly Automotive Group Inc., Mike Kelly Automotive LP, and Mike Kelly Hyundai Inc. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that each received federal loans ranging from $150,000 to $350,000, according to Treasury Department records. 

Kelly’s car dealerships received the federal funding back in April under the Paycheck Protection Program, which was created by Congress to help ease the economic impact of the coronavirus and reduce job losses. If businesses spend the funding on payroll costs and avoid layoffs, along with other eligible expenses, the loans are forgiven. 

According to Treasury data, the loans helped Kelly’s businesses retain 95 jobs. 

Information on the loans Kelly received were included in a batch of PPP data that the Trump administration released Monday under continuing pressure from Congress. Multiple representatives in the House have called on the president and the Treasury to be more transparent about the approval process and which businesses received funding. 

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The program has been criticized for making it easy and quick for large businesses to get funding while smaller businesses had to wait for weeks or were denied altogether. 

Although members of Congress are not prohibited from receiving federal funding, some have been scrutinized for benefitting from a law they passed.  

Andrew Eisenberger, a spokesperson for Kelly, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the congressman is not involved in the day-to-day operations of his dealerships and was not “was not part of the discussions between the business and the PPP lender. 

“Kelly’s small family business employs more than 200 western Pennsylvanians whose jobs were at risk because of Governor Wolf’s business shutdown order,” he added. 

In 2018, Kelly was the 46th wealthiest member of Congress placing him in the top 10% of members, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Kelly has total assets and liabilities that average around $12.4 million. His 2018 financial disclosure form, the Inquirer reports, shows Kelly received business income between $15,001 and $50,000 from Kelly Automotive, but he said his salary for Kelly Chevrolet Cadillac was $23,842.

“The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to sustain the income of workers who would otherwise have been without pay or employment at no fault of their own during the coronavirus pandemic,” Eisenberger told the Inquirer, “and organizations in which members of Congress have an ownership stake were not prohibited from receiving PPP loans to help their employees during this difficult time.”

The exact amount of money Kelly’s businesses received was unclear because the Treasury Department only provided ranges of funding.