Two top administration officials, at the direction of President Trump, helped the Federal Reserve alter its lending program intended to bail out small businesses specifically to aid mid-size oil companies, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette told Bloomberg TV this week. “Secretary Mnuchin worked very closely with the Federal Reserve, we adjusted the program — the Main Street Lending Program — and made that program available to what we refer to as mid cap sized companies,” Brouillette said Tuesday. The Fed, which is legally prohibited from targeting specific sectors for relief, denied that it changed the emergency lending program in order to aid the oil sector.
Oil and gas companies lobbied the Fed over the first weeks of the pandemic to ease eligibility requirements and use restrictions for the program, and the Fed altered its requirements in late April, making lending available to larger businesses and allowing companies to use the funds to pay off existing debts, a move praised by oil-state lawmakers and the oil and gas industry. (Brouillette claims: Bloomberg $, April Fed program changes: Washington Post, NPR State Impact, Roll Call, Politico)