Reps. Cleaver and Kennedy Blast Temp Agencies Profiting Off of PPP Loans
(Washington, D.C.) – Weeks after introducing landmark legislation to enhance protections for temporary workers, United States Representatives Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) and Joseph P. Kennedy, III(D-MA) today called on the nation’s leading temporary staffing agencies to reimburse the federal government for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding awarded to the agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following reports of temp agencies profiting from the PPP, Reps. Cleaver and Kennedy are demanding the agencies either provide a complete accounting of how PPP funds were used to keep workers on payroll or otherwise repay American taxpayers.
In separate letters to the Personnel Staffing Group, ManpowerGroup, Labor Finders International, Gee Group, and Chartwell Staffing Services, the lawmakers wrote:
“While the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) database claims your loan helped retain hundreds of jobs, it appears likely this number includes workers that client companies are paying you to employ. If your company is engaging in a “double-dipping” arrangement in which you receive payment from both client companies and the federal government, this would be contrary to the PPP’s intended purpose of saving jobs. As such, we write to demand you immediately reimburse the government for any PPP money that did not directly support the intended aims of this program or otherwise provide a more transparent accounting of how your usage of this program directly benefited the workers that you employ.”
“Nobody likes a double-dipper,” said Congressman Cleaver, “especially when you are dipping into taxpayer money. The PPP was designed to uplift truly small businesses and keep American workers afloat, not for temp agencies to enrich themselves off the backs of their workers and hardworking Americans. Unfortunately, we’ve seen some nefarious actors use this job-saving program in ways Congress never intended just to make a quick buck. Now, they must explain themselves to the American people or return the funding immediately.”
“Temp staffing agencies that already specialize in exploiting lax labor laws and eroding worker protection should not be allowed to profit off of a program built to be a lifeline for small businesses,” said Congressman Kennedy. “Our economic recovery must be grounded in relief for the workers who will empower it, not the corporations that profit from their labor. These agencies must answer for their decisions and prepare to reimburse the PPP program if they misused these funds.”
Last month, Congressmen Cleaver and Kennedy introduced the Restoring Worker Power Act to comprehensively overhaul federal protections for temp workers. This legislation would increase wages, strengthen workers’ rights, ban predatory corporate practices, enshrine equal pay, extend health and safety protections, enact anti-discrimination measures, and increase transparency in the industry.
Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri's Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee; Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy; member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress; member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. For more information, please contact Matt Helfant at 202-590-0175 or Matthew.Helfant@mail.house.gov A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.