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A ‘Zero-Sum Game’: Is the World Defeating Itself in the Covid Olympics?

But if countries think of themselves, rather than the public good, no amount of innovation could stop the devastation of Covid-19.

Health experts particularly fear a repeat of 2009, when during the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak, rich countries raced to get limited doses of vaccine for themselves “without thinking about where a vaccine could do the most good,” says Schwartz. Mexico, where the disease originated, was still struggling to get supplies even as other countries had extra supplies. Only after the threat had passed did richer countries donate their stockpiles to poorer ones.

Students of pandemics say that any rich country who thinks that this kind of “vaccine nationalism” will save it is nuts.

“A pandemic only subsides when transmission is halted globally,” Scott Rosenstein, the director of Eurasia Group’s global health group, said in May. “The most effective way to do that would likely be to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers and at risk populations first in as many countries as possible.”

“Nationalism is not beneficial for anyone, because it slows global growth,” says Goldin. “It slows the global response to the pandemic and undermines the ability to deal with other threats.”

Complicating the race is the fact that biotech supremacy is increasingly regarded as a source of wealth and power.

“I’m a little biased,” says Loncar, the investor. “But you could argue that in the future, the most important inventions will be from biology and biotech,” he says, pointing to gene editing and CRISPR. With these developments increasingly seen as not just profitable but also as components of national security, he points out, “countries and regions around the world are going to heavily invest in making their biotech sectors self-sufficient. You want to be at the forefront.”

But for countries looking for that edge in the future, competition can be a double-edged sword. “If being first is the goal, and then you cheat and lie and steal and cut corners and don’t tell the truth, that actually undermines your competitiveness,” says Carafano.

In his quest to make China a scientific powerhouse, for example, Xi has made scientists’ promotions and salaries dependent on publishing in high-impact journals, says Bouey, leading to a number of damaging retraction and falsification scandals. International trust in Chinese vaccines has already eroded significantly since 2018, when a Chinese company was found to be making vaccines with expired products.

In Russia, there are fears that President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive vaccine timeline could lead to safety problems. Some suspect Putin is using this race to try to conjure the glory days of the Soviet Union, when Russia led high-profile vaccine campaigns.

“If you’re first to market and it turns out the vaccine is not effective or has terrible side effects,” warns Carafano, “the blowback will far exceed the fact that you’re the first guy out the door.”

All that risk for victory that could be quite fleeting. While the first vaccine across the finish line will certainly be an immediate source of pride for the researchers, the manufacturers and the countries behind them—not to mention a profit opportunity for the producers—“frankly the real achievement, the one the record books will recount, will be the vaccine that really does provide … long-lasting, strong, robust, safe protection,” says Schwartz.

That kind of long-term recognition could well come after the current crop of world leaders is off the stage. For now, victory in the vaccine race may stand as a political, as well as medical, achievement. Any excuse to rally people around a flag looms large at a time when hundreds of thousands are dying and losing jobs. And as long as there are headlines to be made, leaders will reach for them.

Goldin had to laugh when Trump, with dreams of scientific victories sliding into political ones, hit patriotic notes in a campaign rally-style victory speech after watching the silver SpaceX rocket carry two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station in May. “The same spirit of American determination that sends our people into space will conquer this disease on Earth,” the president intoned, praising America’s “limitless reserves of talent, tenacity, and resolve.”

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Federal judge orders Dakota Access pipeline to close

A federal judge on Monday ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota to stop delivering oil and vacated a key federal permit that had allowed it to operate, a dramatic setback for the controversial pipeline.

Context: The order is the second major setback to the U.S. pipeline industry in as many days, coming less than 24 hours after backers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline canceled that natural gas project after years of legal challenges. The order is also another rebuke to the Trump administration’s attempts to move quickly to approve pipelines, which critics have said leaves them open to legal challenges from environmental groups.

Details: Judge James Boasberg for the U.S. District Court District of Columbia ruled that the Dakota Access pipeline must be emptied while the Army Corps of Engineers conducts the environmental impact review that it should have completed before it granted an easement that allowed Energy Transfer Partners to build the pipeline bringing North Dakota crude oil to Illinois in the first place.

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Trudeau will not attend USMCA celebration in Washington

Key context: Trudeau signaled last week he was unlikely to attend the meeting, due both to the pandemic and new tariff threats from the Trump administration.

The U.S. has been pressing Ottawa to impose quotas on Canadian aluminum exports or face the reintroduction of a 10 percent tariff, which would likely create new tension in the Canada-U.S. relationship.

“We’re obviously concerned about the proposed issue of tariffs on aluminum and steel that the Americans have floated recently,” Trudeau said during a press conference on Friday. “We’re also concerned about the health situation and the coronavirus reality that is still hitting all three of our countries.”

The U.S. is currently reporting record numbers of new Covid-19 cases, while Canada has largely flattened its epidemic curve. The U.S. recorded nearly 50,000 new cases on Sunday, while Canada confirmed just 219 new coronavirus infections.

Canada is requiring any traveler returning to the country to self-isolate for two weeks upon arrival, and Trudeau was asked last week whether that rule would apply to him. “I can assure you that at all times we will follow all the rules and all the advice of public health,” he said.

What’s next: The USMCA took effect on July 1, but the possibility of new tariffs threatens the stability the trade deal was supposed to provide during a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty.

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Rep. Bill Pascrell expected to recover after undergoing heart surgery on Sunday

Pascrell traveled from Washington, D.C. to New Jersey last week and experienced indigestion and heartburn, according to a statement from his office. The congressman went to a Paterson, N.J. hospital where doctors discovered blocked arteries in his heart on Saturday. Doctors bypassed the arteries in surgery the following day.

“Congressman Pascrell wants his experience to be a lesson that during this pandemic everyone should be attuned to their whole health and not be afraid to contact their physician for non-COVID symptoms of concern,” the statement read.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Sen. Bob Menendez wished Pascrell well in a pair of tweets.

“I know Bill and he’s a fighter. Wishing you a full and speedy recovery, Congressman!” Murphy wrote. “New Jersey has your back.”

“I know you’ll get through this and wishing you a speedy recovery, my friend,” Menendez wrote.

Pascrell, the former mayor of Paterson, won election to the House of Representatives in 1996 and is seeking his 12th term in office. He represents New Jersey’s Ninth District and is facing two progressive primary challengers in Tuesday’s election.

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Small business aid winners include Five Guys, Planned Parenthood, Grindr

The release of data for loans larger than $150,000 divulges just a minority of the program’s total borrowers — more than 80 percent of the transactions were below that threshold — but it marked a significant step forward in transparency after the administration for months resisted requests by lawmakers and news organizations to share the recipients of the funds.

The disclosure has huge consequences for lawmakers as negotiations begin on the next economic relief package, including additional support for businesses. Lawmakers say they want to target aid at hard-hit employers, but they’ve had little visibility into where the first wave of money went, until now.

“This program was far from perfect, but it did a whole lot of good in the economy,” said Isaac Boltansky, director of policy research at Compass Point Research & Trading. “The bumpy launch, the muddled messaging and the stories to come out of this new data are simply the cost of pushing that much money into the system that quickly.”

As of June 30, the program had issued $521.4 billion via almost 4.9 million loans, leaving more than $131.9 billion unspent, according to the SBA. The data the Trump administration disclosed this week did not include the more than $30 billion in loans that were returned or canceled, senior administration officials said. Many companies returned the loans after the SBA and Treasury discouraged corporations from taking the funds if they had access to other financing.

The loans can be forgiven if businesses agree to maintain their payrolls, and Monday’s release showed that borrowers reported the loans supported 51.1 million jobs. About 27 percent of the approved funds went to low- and moderate-income areas. In an industry-by-industry breakdown, health care and social assistance businesses received the greatest share of the loan funds — about $67 billion.

The big corporate borrowers that came to light in the early days of the program via Securities and Exchange Commission filings fueled debate about who was worthy of the aid. Those concerns abated as demand for the loans waned and tens of billions of dollars went unused. But employers that took the money were preparing for a second wave of public outrage.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) on Thursday revealed that her family’s businesses received about $480,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loans, after she had previously declined to disclose the details.

The loan data revealed details that had not previously been disclosed on PPP borrowers.

Burger chain Five Guys, which has locations across the U.S. and Canada, took a loan of between $5 million and 10 million, according to the SBA database. The revelation came after other big restaurant operators such as Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris returned money amid a public backlash. The new data showed that TGI Friday’s and P.F. Chang’s also took loans in the $5 million to $10 million range. All three corporations are backed by private equity firms, which face restrictions on how their portfolio companies can apply for the aid.

Drury Hotels, a Missouri-based chain with more than 150 locations in 27 states, also received a loan of between $5 million and $10 million. The privately held company had revenue of $580 million in 2017, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

Grindr, an online dating app aimed at LGBTQ people, got a loan of between $1 million and $2 million in April, about a month after a Chinese company, Beijing Kunlun Tech, sold its 98.6 percent stake in the company for $608.5 million. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the federal body that polices foreign investments that could pose national security risks, had urged Kunlun to divest from the app, which collects personal data, according to Reuters.

Goodwill Industries International, a major nonprofit with billions in revenue, received a loan of between $2 million and $5 million, while more than 70 of its individual locations also got funds.

The nonprofit said it took out the loan “to keep essential staff” and said its independent locations could comment on loans they received.

“The PPP loans served as a lifeline for Goodwill and many nonprofits, allowing them to retain staff and maintain operations as they provide vital services on the frontlines during the pandemic and assist in future recovery efforts,” Goodwill spokesperson Lauren Lawson-Zilai said in an email. “GII is grateful for the loan received, and we continue to urge Congress to provide relief for larger nonprofits that were not able to access the PPP, yet continue to struggle during these times.”

About 40 Planned Parenthood locations received loans. Initial news of the loans leaked weeks ago, spurring an outcry from Republicans who oppose the nonprofit over abortion rights. Planned Parenthood Federation of America Vice President Jacqueline Ayers said the loans have ensured that health centers can retain staff and continue to provide patients with essential, time-sensitive sexual and reproductive health care during this crisis.”

The data shows that Washington interest groups and firms staffed by former officials took advantage of the program.

Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, a “research and educational” nonprofit linked to small-government advocate Grover Norquist, received a loan for between $150,000 and $350,000. In a statement, Americans for Tax Reform said the foundation was “badly hurt by the government shutdown” and was able to maintain its employees without laying anyone off thanks to the loan.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute received loans for $350,000-$1 million. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation got a loan in the same range.

Albright Stonebridge Group, the “global strategic advisory and commercial diplomacy firm” chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, received a loan for $2.05 million, a spokesperson said.

Right-leaning news organizations also secured loans. NewsMax Media Inc., the company headed by Christopher Ruddy, a supporter of President Donald Trump, received between $2 million and $5 million. And the Daily Caller News Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the conservative Daily Caller news site co-founded by Tucker Carlson, received between $150,000 and $350,000.

The data revealed details on loans approved for companies linked to lawmakers. Automotive businesses tied to Reps. Roger Williams (R-Texas) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) received aid. KTAK Corp., a McDonald’s restaurant operator that Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) has disclosed as a source of income, received a $1-2 million loan.

“Mike Kelly Automotive Group, Inc.”; “Mike Kelly Automotive, LP” and “Mike, Kelly Hyundai, Inc.” each received loans for $150,000-$350,000 from PNC Bank. Kelly spokesperson Andrew Eisenberger said the lawmaker was not involved in the day-to-day operations of his dealerships and was not part of the discussions with the lender.

“The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to sustain the income of workers who would otherwise have been without pay or employment at no fault of their own during the coronavirus pandemic, and organizations in which members of Congress have an ownership stake were not prohibited from receiving PPP loans to help their employees during this difficult time,” Eisenberger said.

The prominent law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP received between $5 million and $10 million under the program. David Boies — who rose to prominence representing the government in its antitrust case against Microsoft and representing Gore in the election recount debacle — has made headlines in recent years for defending Weinstein and representing the fraudulent startup Theranos. He also represented several of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers.

Georgetown Preparatory School, the Maryland-based private school that taught Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch as well as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, received a loan for $2 million to $5 million. The school’s president, Rev. James Van Dyke, said applying for the loan was “manifestly necessary” to keep up with “our commitment and ethical obligations to our 195 employees during this historic economic crisis.”

The lack of transparency was a political hurdle last week before Congress passed legislation to keep the program open to new loan applications until Aug. 8. It shut down Tuesday night but restarted Monday morning after Trump signed the extension over the holiday weekend.

The SBA and Treasury agreed to give congressional committees full access to loan data, and news organizations are seeking greater access under the Freedom of Information Act.

Sam Mintz, Melanie Zanona and Kellie Mejdrich contributed to this report.

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New data shows lawmakers secured millions in small business aid

It is not illegal for lawmakers to apply for or accept Paycheck Protection Program money, and every office that responded to a request for comment for this story emphasized that the members had no role in the application process and that the companies or nonprofits took the loans legally in an effort to keep people employed during the pandemic.

But the program’s connections to Congress, the majority of which were previously undisclosed, have raised new questions about the administration’s secrecy of the $670 billion program, as well as potential conflicts of interest as lawmakers prepare to craft the next coronavirus rescue package.

The Paycheck Protection Program has faced transparency complaints and intense scrutiny over charges it was helping the well-connected after reports revealed that large corporations, including Shake Shack and the L.A. Lakers, were among the first to be awarded loans, while smaller businesses were stuck in line. Shake Shack and the sports team later returned the loans.

The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration finally agreed to divulge some loan recipients, but only for borrowers who took loans over $150,000 — a small minority of the program’s total borrowers, as more than 80 percent of the Paycheck Protection Program loans were below that threshold.

In May, Democrats tried to pry free the list of recipients, but their push in the House to require disclosure of at least some companies was blocked on the floor by Republicans — including Kelly, Allen, Hern, Mullin, Williams and Hartzler, who all voted against the bill.

Among the Paycheck Protection Program loan recipients with connections to members of Congress were “Mike Kelly Automotive Group, Inc.”; “Mike Kelly Automotive, LP” and “Mike, Kelly Hyundai, Inc.,” which each received loans for $150,000-$350,000 from PNC Bank. Kelly spokesperson Andrew Eisenberger said the lawmaker was not involved in the day-to-day operations of his dealerships and was not part of the discussions with the lender.

“The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to sustain the income of workers who would otherwise have been without pay or employment at no fault of their own during the coronavirus pandemic, and organizations in which members of Congress have an ownership stake were not prohibited from receiving PPP loans to help their employees during this difficult time,” Eisenberger said.

R.W. Allen Construction received a loan in the range of $350,000 and $1 million. Allen founded the construction company, but relinquished his majority stake before he came to Congress and no longer holds any decision-making authority, according to his office. A website for the company lists his wife, Robin, as the chairman of the business.

“I can confirm our office has consulted with the U.S. House of Representatives Office of General Counsel and is confident the company, like businesses around the country impacted by COVID-19, is eligible to receive a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program after doing their due diligence and applying in good faith,” said Andrea Porwoll, communications director for Allen.

KTAK Corporation, owned by Hern, the Oklahoma Republican, received between $1 and 2 million. The company owns McDonald’s numerous franchises in the Tulsa area. The company owns numerous McDonald’s franchises in the Tulsa area.

In a statement, Hern’s chief of staff Cameron Foster said that Hern is not involved in the day to day operations of the business, and that the loan allowed it to keep all its employees at their current level of employment. “Kevin Hern has been open and transparent with members of the community about his family business’ need of a Paycheck Protection Program Loan during the COVID-19 crisis,” Foster said.

Four companies owned by Mullin — Mullin Plumbing Inc., Mullin Environmental, Mullin Plumbing West, and Mullin Services — took a total of somewhere between $800,000 and $2 million in Paycheck Protection Program money. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but his most recent financial disclosure form shows the businesses listed as assets; Mullin’s wife also took a salary from Mullin Plumbing Inc.

Munley Law, a Scranton, Pennsylvania law firm, received between $350,000 and $1 million in funds from the Paycheck Protection Program. The firm is closely tied to Cartwright. Cartwright worked there for 25 years before being elected and his wife Marion Munley is a partner there. It was founded by her father Robert, who died in December.

Cartwright still has pension assets being held in the firm’s profit sharing plan, a spokesperson for Munley Law told POLITICO last year.

The connection has been scrutinized by conservative groups in the past, who alleged that Cartwright would benefit from a bill he sponsored to raise the minimum liability insurance level for truckers. The firm specializes in trucking and auto litigation.

Both the firm and Cartwright’s office said that he did not assist Munley with obtaining the loan, and a spokesperson for Cartwright noted that he voted for a House bill promoting transparency for the Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Other lawmakers have family members who work for companies that, at some point, reaped benefits from the small business loans program. Rep. Susie Lee’s (D-Nev.) husband is the CEO of a regional casino developer, Full House Resorts, which took a $5.6 million Paycheck Protection Program loan. And Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s (D-Fla.) spouse is an executive at a restaurant chain, Fiesta Restaurant Group, which received $15 million in aid before returning the loan in full. Both lawmakers also voted for the transparency bill.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which is associated with the CBC, said it received a Paycheck Protection Program loan to “support its continuity of operations” during the coronavirus crisis.

“Without this assistance, the CBCF would have faced a 30% reduction in the overall organizational budget impacting more than 25 employees,” the organization said in a statement. “In addition, the CBCF provides paid, need-based fellowship and internship opportunities to equip future leaders and increase diversity on Capitol Hill. These young professionals would not otherwise have the invaluable opportunity for inclusion in the pipeline of public service.”

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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tests positive for Covid-19

With the pandemic and widespread protests against racism and police brutality, Bottoms has gained national prominence and appeared regularly on cable news panels. The mayor is often listed as a top contender for Biden’s vice presidential pick, alongside Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and former national security adviser Susan Rice.

When protests erupted after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Bottoms herself participated in peaceful demonstrations. And in April, she was thrust into the spotlight when she criticized Gov. Brian Kemp’s push to reopen the Georgia economy, saying that she could not endorse his decision as the mayor of the state’s densest city and that the move endangered residents.

“I may not have the legal authority to override the state,” she had written in The Atlantic. “I do have the right to use my voice to encourage people to exercise common sense, listen to the science, follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and stay home, if at all possible.”

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Roger Stone asks appeals court to keep him from prison

While prosecutors did not oppose Stone’s request to Jackson to delay his scheduled prison reporting date from late June to early September, Stone’s latest legal filing indicates that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington has told his lawyers it will oppose his effort to get the appeals court to step in and force such a delay.

However, prosecutors apparently won’t object to a brief delay to allow the D.C. Circuit to consider the issue.

In a social media post on Monday evening, Stone said that he viewed the latest legal action as a longshot, but that he was determined to pursue every option in the court system even as he seeks a pardon from Trump.

“I recognize that the chances are overwhelming that the appeals court will remand the matter back to Judge Jackson,” Stone wrote on Instagram, “but it is vitally important that the American people see all of the false claims in her most recent ruling and I want the president to know that I have, in good faith ,exhausted all of my legal remedies and that an only an act of clemency by the Presideny [sic] will provide Justice in my case where I was charged on politically motivated ,fabricated charges and was denied a fair trial with an unbiased judge,an honest jury and uncorrupted and non political prosecutors.”

Trump has said Stone shouldn’t be concerned that he’ll be sent to prison, but the president has also predicted that his longtime confidant will be exonerated in the legal system. The president has strongly hinted that he’ll provide a pardon or commutation if necessary to stop Stone from being jailed.

Prior to Jackson’s ruling last week, Stone said he faced “certain” death in prison due to the virus. Online, he railed against the effort to jail him as a “death sentence” and “an attempt to kill me.”

In his social media posts, Stone said publicly that he has asthma and a history of respiratory issues. However, court filings detailing Stone’s medical history were put under seal, including a letter from a Miami Beach internist, Islon Woolf, who is described as Stone’s “treating physician.”

“The district court fails to acknowledge … that Dr. Woolf explains that the ‘lack of relevant data and guidance for patients suffering’ from Stone’s condition is ‘very concerning’ but that, based on the nature of the condition, it is reasonable to speculate that Stone is ‘at greater risk of infection and greater risk of complications from COVID-19,’” attorneys Seth Ginsberg and David Schoen wrote in the D.C. Circuit filing.

The lawyers said that by not detailing the health issue publicly, they were deferring to Jackson’s decision to treat it as confidential. She described Stone’s health condition as “medically controlled,” but his attorneys accuse her of “wholly ignoring” the doctor’s advice.

“The district court … makes no allowance for the fact that it may not be possible for Stone’s medical conditions, which require close monitoring and strict compliance with the directions of his physician, to remain controlled within a [Bureau of Prisons] facility,” Ginsberg and Schoen wrote.

The defense lawyers also disputed Jackson’s assessment that Stone already got the benefit of a federal prisons policy to allow defendants in nonviolent cases an additional 60 days to surrender as authorities try to keep prison head counts low to ward off coronavirus outbreaks by allowing some social distancing. His attorneys contend that an earlier delay from late April to the end of June was not triggered by that policy.

While the Georgia prison had not officially reported any Covid-19 cases among prisoners or staff as of the date of Jackson’s order, as of Monday evening the federal prisons’ webpage tracking the virus was reporting three inmates infected at Jesup, six positive tests among inmates and no infections among staff.

Stone and his lawyers have repeatedly noted that because testing of federal prisoners has been limited, outbreaks in those facilities are likely more widespread than the official tallies indicate.

Following a weeklong trial last November, a Washington jury found Stone guilty on all seven felony counts he faced: five of making false statements to Congress, one of obstruction of Congress, and one of witness tampering with both a House Intelligence Committee inquiry and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

In February, Attorney General William Barr stirred allegations of political interference in the case when he stepped in to override prosecutors’ recommendation for a seven- to nine-year sentence for Stone under federal sentencing guidelines. All four of the line prosecutors on the case withdrew when Barr stepped in, and one quit the government altogether.

Jackson largely agreed with prosecutors on their initial calculation of the guidelines, but she ultimately sentenced Stone to only about half as much time as the prosecution originally sought.

Stone has a pending appeal of his convictions and sentence, but Barr called the prosecution “righteous.”

Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.

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Among those who got PPP loans: Washington lobbying firms

Other lobbying firms that received the loans are primarily law firms, such as Miller & Chevalier; Kasowitz Benson Torres; Wiley; Kelley Drye & Warren; and Van Ness Feldman.

Kasowitz Benson Torres has done legal work this cycle for America First Action, a super PAC backing President Donald Trump’s reelection, as well as the Republican National Committee, according to campaign finance records.

Marc Kasowitz, a partner at the firm, also worked as a personal lawyer to President Donald Trump during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

A Kasowitz Benson Torres spokeswoman said that “together with substantial cost-saving measures and greatly reduced partner distributions,” the loan “enabled us to preserve the jobs of our hundreds of employees at full salary and benefits without interruption.”

The Paycheck Protection Program was created by Congress in March to help businesses with fewer than 500 employees make it through the pandemic — with some exceptions. Strip clubs, payday loan companies and businesses that get most of their revenues from gambling, lobbying or political work were all barred from receiving the loans under SBA rules.

The agency changed the rules for casinos and other gambling businesses in April under pressure from the casino industry and the Nevada congressional delegation, but lobbying firms weren’t so lucky. Trade groups such as the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers are also prohibited from applying for the loans; more than 2,000 trade groups sent a letter to lawmakers last week urging them to change the rules.

But the rules don’t appear to have prevented a number of firms in the influence industry from receiving aid. Many of them are public affairs firms that aim to influence the federal government in ways that don’t require them to register as lobbyists.

The Clyde Group, for instance, states on its website that it can help “corporations and organizations achieve their policy, legislative, regulatory and legal goals by shaping strategies around decision-makers and relevant influencers.” The firm received between $350,000 and $1 million in April, helping to save 26 jobs, according to the data.

The DCI Group, which Bloomberg Businessweek reported in 2018 had conducted six Washington influence campaigns on behalf of hedge funds, received between $2 million and $5 million, helping to preserve the jobs of 96 employees, according to the data.

Neither firm responded to requests for comment.

At least one public affairs firm that received a loan has returned it.

Precision Strategies, a firm started by three veterans of President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, received a loan of between $1 million and $2 million in May, according to the data. Stephanie Cutter, one of the firm’s co-founders, said they had applied for loan as a precautionary measure but ultimately decided they didn’t need it as much as others might.

“We returned the loan in full last month because we decided there were other small businesses across the country that were more deserving of this money than we were,” she said.

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Huntsman loses GOP primary in Utah

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox has defeated former Gov. Jon Huntsman for the GOP nomination for governor, ending Huntsman’s comeback bid in the Republican primary.

The Associated Press declared Cox the winner on Monday, nearly a week after last Tuesday’s primary. Cox leads Huntsman in the vote count, 36 percent to 35 percent. Former state House Speaker Greg Hughes was third, with 21 percent.

Huntsman won two gubernatorial elections, in 2004 and 2008, before leaving office to serve as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China. After an ill-fated 2012 presidential campaign, President Donald Trump tapped Huntsman to serve as his ambassador to Russia, a post Huntsman left last October.