According to data on the government's Paycheck Protection Program, about 600 mostly larger companies, including dozens of national chains, received the maximum amount allowed under the program of $10 million.
Officials from the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration have argued that the program primarily benefited smaller business because a vast majority of the loans ? more than 87% ? were for less than $150,000, as of August. But the new data show that more than half of the $522 billion in the same time frame had gone to bigger businesses, and only 28% of the money was distributed in amounts of under $150,000.
The newly released data comes after a federal lawsuit filed by The Washington Post and 10 other news organizations under the Freedom of Information Act challenging the SBA's refusal to release records on borrowers and loan amounts. A federal judge ordered release of the data by Tuesday and the agency did not appeal.