According to an email released Wednesday by the Congressional Oversight Committee, the financially strapped trucking company received support from the Trump White House in 2020.
Yellow Corporation gave the Treasury Department a 30% stake as a condition for the $ 700 million loan, which came from funds earmarked by Congress for companies “critical to national security.” Debt critics, who have accused Republicans and Democrats of overseeing relief funds, have argued that the Pentagon and Treasury have extended the term of Yellow, formerly known as the YRC, to several competitors in the trolling market.
Congressional investigators on the Democratic-led selection committee on the coronavirus crisis, who issued the email, are now asking the National Archives and Records administration to provide Trump White House communications, memos and calendar entries to Yellow or his private- Equity Baker, Apollo Global.
The email, released Wednesday, features exchanges between Yellow senior executive Mike Kelly in May and June 2020, the firm’s lobbyist, White House staff and executives from Teamstars, a union representing mostly yellow workers. To get that help, the company has embarked on a multi-pronged campaign, which has reached the highest levels of the White House, the Treasury Department and the Pentagon.
On May 6, 2020, Erskine Wells, a lobbyist whose firm was registered to represent Yellow in April 2020, emailed Kelly in an email from White House official Tim Patki pledging to “call the Treasury on our behalf.” The emails were also sent to PwC’s Rohit Kumar and Todd Metcalfe, former senior Republicans and Democratic Senate aides, respectively, who registered in April 2020 to lobby for yellow. A spokesman representing Patki declined to comment.
In a second email, Wells told Kelly that he had shared “key content” with an aide to Larry Cudlow, then director of the National Economic Council at the White House. Wells also said in an email that he had spoken to or contacted several other White House offices, and had “debriefed” Senate staff, who had promised then-Treasury Secretary Justin Muznich “to call to investigate the YRC.”
According to a federal disclosure, Yellow significantly increased spending on lobbying in 2020, eventually giving lobbyists 2019 570,000 in 2019 compared to zero. The company has spent nearly $ 585,000 on lobbyists so far this year.
A company spokesman said in a statement that “Yellow reached out to the appropriate executive and legislative branches to save 30,000 jobs and protect the insecure US supply chain during the Covid-19 crisis.” “Our request received the full support of the Bilateral Congress and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. In negotiating with the Treasury Department, all guidelines were followed and the proper care process was elaborate. We stand by our work and are proud to be partners. With the US government and our military to support the chain. “
A spokesman for PwC and Teamsters declined to comment. Cudlow declined to comment for the report, and Muzinich and Wells did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for Patki declined to comment on his behalf.
Members of the Congressional Oversight Commission, a bipartisan body set up to monitor the Treasury Department’s spending on the Coir Act Fund, began raising concerns about the Yellow Debt within weeks of its announcement in July 2020, suggesting that this was not the type of company set aside for “critical to national security” businesses. The Act envisaged 17 billion. The aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing, were the intended recipients of the funds, but mainly stuck to the terms and did not apply.
The Cares Act did not specify what it meant by “critical to national security,” leaving it to the Treasury. The agency defined such businesses as those operating under high confidential approval or working on specific priority agreements, but also created a third way for businesses certified as critical by the Secretary of Defense. Thus Yellow eventually qualified for the loan and emails show that the company reached out to high-ranking officials at the Pentagon in search of an apology. Yellow has received the largest loan of any company to date, with other loans falling into the category of defense-focused start-ups.
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