June 26 (UPI) -- The Government Accountability Office reported that about $38 billion in coronavirus relief loans for small businesses have been canceled, in part because of large businesses returning loans after news broke that smaller companies were shut out of the process.
The GAO data, released Thursday, came from the Small Business Administration, which said that more than 170,000 loans had been canceled as of May 31 with more money being given back.
The SBA said Wednesday that 4.7 million loans had been approved under the Paycheck Protection Program worth $516.5 billion, including the cancellations.
"Consistent with the urgency of responding to serious and widespread health issues and economic disruptions, agencies have given priority to moving swiftly where possible to distribute funds and implement new programs," the GAO said.
"As tradeoffs were made, however, agencies have made only limited progress so far in achieving transparency and accountability goals."
Shake Shack restaurant chain and the Los Angeles Lakers were two examples of large companies that gave back PPP loans after sparking outrage of received them while mom and shop stores could not.
The SBA had not provided details on how many of the canceled loans were part of givebacks, duplicates or returned over payback concerns.
U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., had asked the SBA inspector general to investigate reports of alleged thousands of duplicate loans being made, costing possibly $100 million.