By Sally Stapleton
When the U.S. government extended pandemic hardship loans to thousands of religious institutions, Jim Bakker and Morningside USA, his ministry in Blue Eye, Missouri, were among the most high-profile recipients.
On April 28, the pastor received approval for an amount between $650,000 and $1.7 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds.
Weeks before, the Missouri attorney general filed a complaint, the New York attorney general sent a cease-and-desist warning and the Federal Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters alleging Bakker engaged in deceptive practices by touting purported health benefits of a silver product on The Jim Bakker Show — including a suggestion it could be used to treat or prevent COVID-19 infection, something the FDA says is false. In June, the Arkansas attorney general’s office followed with its own lawsuit.
Applicants seeking PPP loans were asked to certify they weren’t engaged in any activity that is illegal under federal, state or local law. The question is whether Bakker’s involvement in ongoing litigation and fraud allegations will rise to the level of a Small Business Administration review.
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