Trump Officials Gave Pandemic Loan to Trucking Company Despite Objections


Other lawmakers, however, have been deeply skeptical of the loan, which is the subject of an investigation by the Congressional Oversight Commission, a bipartisan panel that was set up to oversee portions of the relief money. Representative French Hill, a Republican from Arkansas who sits on that commission, said the loan should not have been given.

“As I’ve previously said, the $700 million taxpayer-backed loan Treasury made to Yellow, formerly YRC, was a mistake, and now the commission is focused on how we can prevent this from happening again,” Mr. Hill said.

Yellow had many connections to the Trump administration. The company had financial backing from Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm with close ties to administration officials. Mr. Trump had selected the company’s chief executive, Darren D. Hawkins, to serve on a coronavirus economic task force. And he had nominated the company’s former chief executive, William D. Zollars, to the U.S. Postal Service’s board of governors.

The report accuses Yellow of misrepresenting its business to help secure the loan. It claimed to provide a larger share of trucking services to the Defense Department than the department assessed. Communications included in the report also showed a company executive discussing using funds to catch up on capital investments when the relief money was supposed to be used for offsetting losses from the pandemic. The executive said the company had its “hand in the cookie jar.”

Along with the release of the report, Mr. Clyburn sent a letter to the Treasury Department’s inspector general asking for an investigation into whether Yellow had violated the False Claims Act.

A law firm representing Yellow sent a letter to Mr. Clyburn before the release of the report defending the company’s actions and describing many of the allegations as “baseless.” The company stood by the trucking services data that it provided when applying for the loan and said that Yellow has paid more than $25 million in interest on the loan. The letter also noted that company had settled its dispute with the government last month.

The letter, which was written by Marc E. Kasowitz, who was previously Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, was provided to The New York Times by Heather Nauert, an adviser to Yellow who was previously a spokeswoman for Mike Pompeo, Mr. Trump’s secretary of state.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.

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