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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz defends pandemic relief funding that helped two billionaire donors land $35M

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 1:26 PM

  • Courtesy Photo / U.S. Senate
  • U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz
U.S. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is defending himself on Twitter after a Wall Street Journal story drew attention to his work to secure pandemic relief funding for oil companies owned by a pair of billionaire GOP donors.

The WSJ article highlighted potential conflicts of interest between Cruz and Lone Star State billionaires Dan and Farris Wilks. The senator pushed the Federal Reserve to make a loan program available to oil and gas companies, including those owned by the brothers, who contributed heavily to Cruz's campaigns.

The Wilks brothers subsequently pulled in $35 million in coronavirus relief funding, according the Journal's reporting. Around the same time, they also pumped large investments into other energy companies.

On Twitter, Cruz defended his bid to expand the Fed's loan program to the oil industry, saying he wants to protect Texas jobs.

"This tweet is misleading. I didn't 'weigh-in' on behalf of any specific company," Cruz said, responding to a tweet from the Journal about its story. "I sent a public letter to the Fed arguing that the ENTIRE oil & gas industry shouldn't be wrongfully excluded from emergency loans. I'm proud to defend jobs in Texas."

That defense didn't exactly earn sympathy from the Twittersphere.

One respondent suggested Cruz use his influence to get the billionaires to return the money. Others accused the senator of doling out favors to the rich while the rest of his constituents struggle during the economic crisis.

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