North Carolina Senate candidate Cal Cunningham (D), who hopes to unseat incumbent GOP Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) in November, is caught in a controversy surrounding his criticism of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Cunningham previously said that the landmark program, a lifeline to America’s small business sector, missed the mark:
For PPP loans to have “generally missed the industries and areas most heavily impacted by COVID-19” is unacceptable. Leaving behind small businesses — and disproportionately those that are Black- and Latino-owned — harms communities.— Cal Cunningham (@CalforNC) June 17, 2020
We need oversight.https://t.co/MiGAbFHiLT
While railing against the forgivable loan program, Cunningham’s previous employer, WasteZero, received up to $2 million in loans from the program. To justify his criticism, Cunningham’s campaign originally said that he had left the company on March 20, upon winning his Senate primary, which would have preceded the legislation being signed into law. However, financial filings show that Cunningham was still listed as a vice president and general counsel as of March 31, via the Charlotte Observer:
“Cunningham’s campaign said he left the company March 20, shortly after winning his Senate primary. President Trump signed the $2 trillion CARES Act, which included the PPP, into law on March 27.Cunningham was listed as vice president and general counsel in a 2019 annual report he signed on March 31. His campaign said he had left the company and was being paid on an hourly basis at that point and is still available to do occasional hourly work.”
This egregious falsehood from Cunningham’s campaign spotlights the Senate hopeful’s criticism of the Paycheck Protection Program for what it is: hypocrisy.