A recently published story by the Washington Post based on Western Values Project research and public filings revealed that Hallador Energy, an Indiana-based extractive resource and coal corporation with deep ties to the Trump administration, was granted a $10 million dollar Payroll Protection Program (PPP) bailout through Trump’s Small Business Administration even though Congress intended the funds for small businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
It is unclear how the administration deemed the coal corporation eligible after it applied for the bailout but research uncovered by Western Values Project, an Accountable.US project focused on public lands conservation and accountability, found deep ties to the Trump administration. Former embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is a registered lobbyist in Indiana for one of the corporation’s subsidiaries and the corporation’s former communications and government affairs director is now a senior adviser at the Energy Department’s Office of Nuclear Energy.
“President Trump’s mission to divert needed funds from America’s small businesses to his big coal and corporate special interest allies is coming to fruition. With small businesses shuttering their doors and unemployment skyrocketing to historic levels, shifting millions of taxpayer-funded bailout dollars to dirty, polluting corporations is only the latest example of the corruption derailing America’s economic recovery under the Trump administration,” said Jayson O’Neill, Director of Western Values Project.
On the corporation’s website, Hallador describes itself as rooted in ‘oil and gas exploration’ but having ‘evolved to concentrate on coal development and transportation delivery.’ Hallador’s primary mine, Sunrise Coal, LLC., is the second-largest coal-producing mine in Indiana with the capacity to produce 10 million tons of coal annually. The corporation’s president and chief financial officer received total pay and compensation exceeded $8 million in 2018.
In addition to the $10 million bailout to Hallador Energy, Accountable.US identified at least 17 companies with more than 500 employees receiving a total of $143 million in PPP funds. Recent reporting by Politico, based on research from Accountable.US, found that major restaurant chains were also cashing in on the small business aid package. The Trump administration’s Interior Department is also using a loophole in the (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) CARES Act to divert tribal recovery funds to big oil corporations in Alaska contradictory to congressional intent.
Track the Trump administration’s troubling bailout patterns at Accountable.US’s website, TrumpBailouts.org.
Hallador Energy Received A $10 Million Loan From The Trump Administration
On April 16, 2020 Hallador Energy Announced The Trump Administration Had Given Them A $10 Million Loan, Under The Federal Paycheck Protection Program…
April 16, 2020: Hallador Energy Announced The Trump Administration Had Approved A $10 Million Loan To Them, Under The Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). “In anticipation of COVID-19 shipment delays and potential production interruptions, Hallador has: […] Received approval for a $10 million loan at a 1% interest rate under the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Hallador plans to utilize PPP funds to pay two months of payroll and other covered expenses. Under the terms of the CARES Act, the Company expects at least 80% of the loan to be forgiven by maintaining current staffing levels through June 30, 2020.” [SEC EDGAR – Hallador Energy Press Release, 04/16/20]
…While Hallador’s Executives Made Millions
2017-2018: Hallador Energy Chairman, President & CEO Brent K. Bilsland Made $4,989,765 In Total Compensation. [SEC EDGAR – Hallador Energy DEF 14A, 04/12/19]
2017-2018: Hallador Energy CFO Lawrence D. Martin Made $3,128,623 In Total Compensation. [SEC EDGAR – Hallador Energy DEF 14A, 4/2/19]
Hallador Energy, Who Has Now Hired Scandal-Ridden Former Trump EPA Head Scott Pruitt As Their Lobbyist, Gave Nearly $200,000 To Help Pave The Way For Trump’s Election
In 2016, Hallador Energy And Its Chairman Victor Stabio Gave $190,000 To Karl Rove’s Anti-Hillary Clinton PAC American Crossroads, Which Helped Pave The Way For The Election Of Donald Trump.
From March To September 2016, Hallador Energy Chairman Victor Stabio Donated $40,000 To Karl Rove’s American Crossroads PAC. On March 31, 2016, August 18, 2016, and September 30, 2016, Hallador Energy Chairman Victor Stabio donated $10,000, $10,000, and $12,000, respectively, to Karl Rove’s anti-Hillary Clinton PAC, American Crossroads. [FEC search for Victor Stabio, 03/31/16, 08/18/16, and 09/30/16]
From April To September 2016, Hallador Energy Donated $150,000 To Karl Rove’s American Crossroads PAC. On April 19, 2016, August 19, 2016, and September 30, 2016, Hallador Energy Co. made $50,000 donations to Karl Rove’s anti-Hillary Clinton PAC, American Crossroads. [FEC search for Hallador Energy, 04/19/16, 08/19/16, and 09/30/16]
In 2016, American Crossroads Repeatedly Attacked Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton, And Helped Pave The Way For Donald Trump’s 2016 Election. In 2016, American Crossroads repeatedly attacked Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and helped pave the way for Donald Trump’s 2016 election. [Politico, 03/29/16 and Politico, 04/14/16]
Scandal-Ridden Former Trump EPA Head Scott Pruitt Is An Indiana Lobbyist For A Hallador Energy Subsidiary.
In November 2019, Scandal-Ridden Former EPA Head Scott Pruitt Registered To Lobby For A Subsidiary Of Hallador Energy In Indiana. Scandal-ridden former EPA head Scott Pruitt “registered with the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission as a self-employed lobbyist working on the topics of energy and natural resources. And as he did last year, Pruitt told the commission he was working on behalf of Railpoint Solutions LLC, a company with ties to Terre Haute-based Sunrise Coal. The manager of Railpoint listed on Pruitt’s registration form — Heather Tryon — is also the chief financial officer for Sunrise. Railpoint, registered in Delaware, and Sunrise are both subsidiaries of Colorado-based Hallador Energy Co.” [Indianapolis Star, 01/21/20]
Suzanne Jaworowski, Hallador’s Longtime Communications And Government Relations Director, Was Trump’s 2016 Indiana Senior Campaign Advisor And Now Serves As A Senior Advisor At The Energy Department, And Has The Ear Of The White House.
Hallador’s Communications And Government Relations Director, Suzanne Jaworowski, Served As The Indiana Senior Advisor To Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential Campaign. “Suzanne Jaworowski will be joining the campaign as its Indiana Senior Advisor. Suzanne most recently served as Communications and Government Relations Director for Sunrise Coal/Hallador Energy Company, where she was responsible for the company’s communications, public relations and advocacy efforts. In addition to her work with Sunrise Coal, Suzie consulted on strategy and market research for several advertising agencies and has managed advertising campaigns across the country.” [Targeted News Service, 07/16/16]
Jaworowski Is Now The Senior Advisor In The Office Of Nuclear Energy, And Also Serves As The Political Liaison Between The Office Of Nuclear Energy And The Secretary Of Energy, As Well As The White House.” “Suzanne Jaworowski is the Senior Advisor in the Office of Nuclear Energy, where she serves as the Political Liaison between the Office of Nuclear Energy and the Secretary of Energy, as well as the White House.” [Department of Energy, 05/09/19]
As Large Businesses Get Loans, Small Business Owners Were Left Confused By The Small Business Loan Rollout, Worried About Fears Of Funding Availability, And Frustrated By A Lack Of Timely Response
Hallador Energy Has More Than 500 Total Employees And Temporary Miners…
Hallador Energy Had 915 Full-Time Employees And Temporary Miners As Of December 31, 2019, And Has Since Reduced That To 768. “As of December 31, 2019, we had 915 full-time employees and temporary miners, of which 907 are Sunrise Coal employees and temporary miners. With the closing of the Carlisle Mine, our head count has been reduced to 768.” [SEC EDGAR – Hallador Energy 10-K, 03/09/20]
… The Coronavirus Stimulus Package Was Supposed To Limit SBA Loans To Companies With 500 Employees Or Fewer…
New York Times: “Special-Interest Provisions” In The Coronavirus Stimulus Package Allowed Chain Restaurants And Hotels To File For Small Business Loans, Despite Exceeding Employment Limitations. “Tucked into the largest bailout in United States history — a $2 trillion federal stimulus package agreed to by congressional leaders and the White House early Wednesday in an effort to reduce the economic devastation of the coronavirus outbreak — are a range of provisions that stand to benefit specific industries and interest groups. […] Many of these special-interest provisions would be impossible for a casual reader of the legislation to identify. For example, on Page 15 of the bill, there is a section with the title ‘Business Concerns With More Than 1 Physical Location.’ It says this change in federal law will apply to companies that fit ‘a North American Industry Classification System code beginning with 72’ — a reference that turns out to mean the hotel and restaurant industry. The provision says that if a company owns multiple hotels, even if the overall hotel or restaurant chain has more than 500 employees — the limit to qualify for treatment as a small business — it will still be able to take advantage of the small-business benefits offered in the rescue package.” [New York Times, 3/25/20]
Wall Street Journal: Language In The Coronavirus Stimulus Package, Fought For By The National Restaurant Association, Allowed Big Restaurant And Hotel Chains To Participate Regardless Of Employment Figures. “While the new $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program is aimed at businesses with 500 or fewer employees, language in the $2 trillion federal stimulus bill allows big restaurant and hotel chains to participate regardless of how many people they employ. Sean Kennedy, executive vice president for the National Restaurant Association, which lobbied for the restaurant-and-hotel exception, says size shouldn’t matter.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/6/20]
But The Trump Administration Seems Intent On Giving Taxpayer Money To Large Corporations, Leaving Small Businesses Worried And Frustrated.
USA Today HEADLINE: “Coronavirus PPP Loans Leave Small Firms Confused, Wary And Rushing To Secure Cash To Survive” [USA Today, 4/13/20]
USA Today: Restaurant Owners In Evansville, IN, Were Left Confused And Wary By The SBA Loan Process. “Other small businesses are befuddled by the loan process. David and Danielle Hodge closed their restaurant, Siciliano Subs, in Evansville, Indiana, a couple of weeks ago and laid off their four part-time employees. ‘I am afraid that I will not have enough money to pay rent next month and place a food order,’ David says. ‘I am praying we can get through this as quickly as possible so I can reopen. There is also a huge fear of reopening but people not being able to afford to come to eat at Siciliano’s because they are struggling financially.’ Yet the Hodges have balked at applying for an SBA loan. ‘We are confused with the process, and we have no idea who we are supposed to ask to clarify questions,’ David says. ‘There are too many what-ifs factors that scare us. We barely make it month to month, and what if I have to pay (the loan) back?’” [USA Today, 4/13/20]
CNBC HEADLINE: “There’s A Lot Of Anxiety As Small Businesses Worry The Loan Money Will Run Out” [CNBC, 4/6//20]
A Business Owner In Tennessee Who Had Applied For An SBA Loan Said That Tensions Ran High In The Business Community Over The Availability Of Funds. “The Paycheck Protection Program, which is being overseen by the Small Business Administration, will pay out up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to businesses with 500 or fewer employees. […] Business owners like Doug Trovinger are afraid there won’t be any money left by the time his application is processed. ‘There’s a lot of anxiety within the business world,’ said Trovinger, who owns Document Doctors, LLC, a one-person shop based in Hendersonville, Tennessee. The 40-year-old is seeking a $10,000 loan to help cover salary and rent for his business, which specializes in document management and content creation like training and learning development. He filled out an application and passed it along to the community bank where he has an account. But the Small Business Administration hasn’t yet processed the loan, Trovinger said.” [CNBC, 4/6//20]
Fast Company HEADLINE: “‘Our Government Has Failed Us’: Frustrated, Self-Employed, And Left Behind By SBA Loan Programs” [Fast Company, 4/13/20]
A Barber Shop Owner In Ohio Said He Had Waited Over A Week For A Response For An Emergency Loan Under The SBA’s Coronavirus Relief Program, To No Reply. “Like many businesses across Ohio, Nathan’s Barber Shop in Marion County was ordered to close its doors amid the coronavirus pandemic. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has since extended the state’s stay-home order until at least May, and Nathan Riddle, the shop’s owner and operator, is running out of options. It’s been more than a week since he filled out the application for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the Small Business Administration—but he has yet to hear back from the agency. ‘I think the worst part in all of this would be our local government telling us that we are mandated to shut down, and then give absolutely zero clarity on how or when we will receive any assistance,’ Riddle says.” [Fast Company, 4/13/20]