A Democratic House candidate took thousands of dollars in loans for her campaign from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, the Texas Tribune reports.
The campaign of Christine Eady Mann, a Democratic candidate for Congress running in Texas's 31st district, received $28,600 in May from the PPP, a federal program designed to help small businesses. Mann’s campaign said it used the loan to offset "challenging" fundraising numbers. The campaign repaid the loan in full six weeks later.
Though multiple state Democratic parties have received PPP funding, one expert said Mann’s was one of the earliest—if not the first—campaigns to receive direct PPP funding. "It's not necessarily unlawful but it's perhaps politically inadvisable," said Brendan Fischer, director of the Federal Reform Program at the Campaign Legal Center, a campaign finance watchdog group.
Mann will face fellow Democrat Donna Imam in a congressional primary July 14, with early voting already underway.
Imam criticized her opponent's decision to take PPP funds. "Many small businesses in my district have been forced to close down permanently due to the pandemic. When I reached out to family-owned restaurants in Killeen, they were completely unaware of the Paycheck Protection Program," she said. "When many of these minority owned businesses tried to get help, they were told by their banks that the money had run out."
The winner of the primary will face incumbent representative John Carter (R.) in November. Rasmussen Reports’s "Crystal Ball" average lists the district as "likely Republican."