Without public administrative experience, WWE co-founder Linda McMahon is ill-equipped to head the Small Business Administration and act in the best interests of Main Street.
Yesterday, President-Elect Trump announced his nomination of Linda McMahon to head the Small Business Administration (SBA), immediately raising eyebrows in the small business community. With a personal net worth of more than $500 million, Ms. McMahon is out of touch with the real small business owners she is tasked with assisting at the SBA.
Having contributed at least $6.5 million to the President-Elect’s campaign and associated super PACS, and $5 million to the Trump Foundation, the selection of Ms. McMahon raises conflict of interest concerns that have become synonymous with Mr. Trump and his Cabinet nominations. It begs the question, how much does a Trump Cabinet position cost? For Linda McMahon, the position carries a $11.5 million price tag.
Despite being touted by Mr. Trump as an expert on small businesses, McMahon’s family business, the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), engages in practices that harm small business owners. The McMahons obtained a de facto monopoly in the professional wrestling business by pricing out competitors, many of which were small businesses. Furthermore, unlike the small businesses in Main Street Alliance’s network, the McMahons designated their 150+ roster of wrestlers as independent contractors, leaving them without vital health and retirement benefits or unemployment insurance.
Even more concerning is Ms. McMahon’s inexperience working in the complex, highly technical, small business lending space. The SBA oversees a loan portfolio of $124 billion and provides a range of counseling and technical assistance programs. Under the right, skilled leadership, the SBA has the potential to provide small business owners with badly needed financing, particularly in communities of color and for minority-owned businesses.
“We need a leader who truly understands the struggles of small business owners and has the technical expertise to navigate the maze of complex programs to steer the SBA in the right direction,” said Amanda Ballantyne, Main Street Alliance National Director. “We fear that Linda McMahon does not meet this criterion and is ill-equipped to address the needs of our members and their fellow small business owners."