• The SBA released data on the paycheck protection program, which doled out $521 billion through June 30
  • Norquist did not oppose the CARES Act despite his opposition to the financial industry and auto industry bailouts during the Great Recession
  • Norquist is pushing for legislation that would relieve businesses of liability if anyone contracts coronavirus on their premises

Grover Norquist, who has made a career out of advocating against taxes and pressuring the Republican party on the issue, accepted a paycheck protection loan from the Small Business Administration, saying the government shutdown damaged his organization.

Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform Foundation sought a loan between $150,000 and $350,000, Bloomberg reported, citing data released by the SBA showed. The Washington-based foundation posted a statement saying it had applied for and been granted a loan because of the impact of the coronavirus shutdown.

Unlike most spending bills, Norquist did not oppose the $2 trillion CARES Act, saying the government caused the economic collapse in ordering the economy to shut down to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

“There isn’t a bad guy – it’s a virus,” he said. “It’s a lot of money, but it’s not going to somebody who stole it. It’s going to people who have been damaged by government decisions.”

Norquist had opposed the government bailouts of the auto and financial industries during the Great Recession.

The foundation said its operations are “legally and financially separate” from Norquist’s lobbying activities even though the two entities share leadership.

The SBA data indicate the loan was granted in April, covering 33 jobs.

The federal government released data on the $669 billion paycheck protection program, which began operations in April and handed out some $521.5 billion through June 30. The data covers loans of at least $150,000.

The program was set up under the CARES Act and provided loans of as much as $10 million to companies with fewer than 500 employees. If the money is used to pay employees, rent or mortgages, and utilities, the loans will be forgiven.

Norquist is known for pushing Republicans to promise not to raise taxes. He sums up his philosophy by saying: “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

In March, he advocated for the private sector to take the lead in fighting the coronavirus pandemic even though public health officials have said the nation needs a coordinated, cohesive strategy, and the current piecemeal approach has pushed the U.S. infections and deaths to the highest in the world.

More recently, Norquist has been pushing for legislation that will relieve businesses of liability if anyone becomes infected on their premises as they attempt to reopen.

Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform in 1985 and began promoting his anti-tax pledge the following year.