• Opinion

‘True Grift’: PPP loans ran out, but not before ‘Trump 2020’ data-mining company gets $3 million

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Flickr / Michael Vadon

All Paycheck Protection Program applicants are equal. But some are more equal than others.

With over 26 million Americans jobless since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is designed to bail out small businesses so that they do not have to lay off their employees.

Correction: “was” designed.

True Grift

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The $350 billion PPP program ran out of money in just two weeks - but not before Phunware got a generous $2.85 million loan.

No loan for you

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Unsplash / Alev Takil

Hundreds of thousands of smaller businesses were turned down and many applicants are still waiting.

It’s who you know

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Screenshot / CNBC

Phunware applied to the PPP, and in just two days, received a loan nearly 14 times higher than the average.

It helps to have friends in high places.

All roads lead to Trump

Texting Phone


Phunware specializes in smartphone location data and will be collecting mass information for the election. They released a Donald Trump for President app.

Those connections

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Also, their CEO is Blythe Masters, a former employee of JPMorgan Chase. The same bank that approved the way above-average loan in just two days.

Wait…aren’t the PPP loans to bail out small businesses?

PPP loans run out...but not before "Trump 2020" data-mining company gets $3 million bailout

Screenshot / Phunware

Phunware only has 60 employees. It also made nearly $20 million in sales last year. $3 million of this was through revenue from the Trump reelection campaign.

Big business

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A total of 151 publicly traded companies like Phunware have received nearly $540 million in the same PPP loans being denied to smaller businesses.

Is Phunware the new Cambridge Analytica?

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Phunware develops apps for Fox and the NFL. It also collects data from users to infer information about potential voters. Sound familiar?

Now, Phunware is being accused of cashing in on the coronavirus. The same tracking technology being used for Trump’s reelection campaign is being used to monitor whether users are observing social distancing.

So, the same data firm that is being paid by Trump 2020, Trump’s re-election team, is receiving payouts by the federal government under the Paycheck Protection Program…. Is this a PPP loan or the President’s way of saying Thank you?

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