Washington, D.C. (April 22, 2020) Today, the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) filed a Notice of Appeal in its case challenging the SBA’s exclusion of small businesses primarily engaged in political activity from the new CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program.
On April 21, the DC Federal District Court denied the request for Preliminary Injunction seeking relief on behalf of AAPC member firms in order to ensure their access to the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program. This federally guaranteed loan program just received an additional $335 billion congressional appropriation yesterday unanimously in the U.S. Senate and is expected to pass the House and be signed into law shortly.
Rose Kapolczynski, AAPC President said: “Most of our member firms are small businesses, with a majority having fewer than 10 employees. Just like other small businesses, our members will be affected by the economic downturn. Especially hard hit will be firms that rely heavily on personal contact, including signature gathering, event organizers, door-to-door canvassing, and fundraising. Our members are excluded solely because they help clients exercise their First Amendment rights and that’s why we are appealing.”
Becki Donatelli, AAPC Vice President added: “Our industry employs thousands of workers, especially in a presidential election cycle. The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to shore up the economy and protect small business jobs. Our members deserve the same consideration as other small businesses in America.”
The plaintiffs are co-represented by Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky PLLC and Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, P.C.
Jason Torchinsky, AAPC General Counsel, said: “The DC Court accepted the Government’s argument that the Paycheck Protection Program is a government “subsidy,” not a loan. We respectfully disagree with this position given the fact that the CARES Act specifically calls the PPP program a loan. In addition, a contradictory federal court decision in Wisconsin last week means it is appropriate for the Circuit Court to resolve these differences. We are appealing to continue to fight for a fair process for our members.”
Rick Ridder, Ridder/Braden, Plaintiff and AAPC member said: “When many of us got involved in the business of politics, we did not check our ability to obtain government loans at the front door. The canvasser, the yard sign printer, and the petition circulator all have families in need just like every other American family. The businesses they work for should have the same access to government loans to pay their salaries as every other American business.”
Karma Robinson, GR Pro, Plaintiff and AAPC member added: “As a political fundraising and management firm, GR Pro and its clients have been directly impacted in recent weeks. Political fundraising nation-wide has all but stopped as has polling, ballot initiative signatures, grassroots events, direct mail and political advertising. As a small business owner who employs people in Oklahoma, GR Pro should receive the same consideration from the Small Business Administration as any other employer that wishes to ensure its people remain stable. To exclude political firms that are performing good work to keep our democracy intact is misguided.”
“We’re hearing similar concerns from other members every day,” echoed Alana Joyce, AAPC Executive Director, “In fact, in a recent AAPC member survey, 76% of our member firms cited that their businesses are being disrupted by the pandemic and its economic consequences, from layoffs and hiring freezes to concerns about making payroll and covering health insurance premiums.”
Founded in 1969, the AAPC is a multi-partisan organization of political and public affairs professionals dedicated to improving democracy. The AAPC has over 1,500 members hailing from all corners of the globe. It is the largest association of political and public affairs professionals in the world. For more information, see www.theaapc.org.