The Slatest

Leader of Armed Oregon Protest Against Federal “Tyranny” Took Federal Loan

Ammon Bundy and reporters at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, on Jan. 4, 2016.

Photo by Rob Kerr/AFP/Getty Images

Here’s an interesting item from the liberal gumshoes at Mother Jones: Ammon Bundy, who is leading the armed occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon to protest what he calls the “tyranny” of federal involvement in the business affairs of private citizens, borrowed $530,000 through a federal small business loan program in 2010.

Bundy’s Oregon protest was specifically provoked by the criminal case of Dwight and Steve Hammond, nearby father-and-son ranchers who are longtime antagonists of government land officials. Ammon Bundy believes the Hammonds’ treatment (they were convicted of committing arson on federal property) is unjust and told CNN he wants the government to cede the land of the wildlife refuge to private citizens so “people can reclaim their resources.” He also wrote a Dec. 30 Facebook post that is specifically critical of federal involvement in business:

The ranching and logging industries were only a start, since then these modern day conqueror’s (federal agencies) have moved onto the housing, banking, auto, manufacturing, financial and the list goes on and on and on. I do not need to say much more, it is time to change the tide before the people become too weak to stand. We are presently at a dividing point in history and must choose how the future of our children and our children’s children will lay out.

Nonetheless, MoJo reports, Bundy used the federal loan guarantee program in 2010 to benefit his semitruck business:

Ammon Bundy runs a Phoenix-based company called Valet Fleet Services LLC, which specializes in repairing and maintaining fleets of semitrucks throughout Arizona. On April 15, 2010—Tax Day, as it happens—Bundy’s business borrowed $530,000 through a Small Business Administration loan guarantee program. The available public record does not indicate what the loan was used for or whether it was repaid. The SBA website notes that this loan guarantee was issued under a program “to aid small businesses which are unable to obtain financing in the private credit marketplace.” The government estimated that this subsidy could cost taxpayers $22,419.

Bundy has been in contact with members of the media during the Oregon occupation, which is now in its third day, but has not yet commented on the story about his federal loan.