COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Some dogs have returned to Playful Pets doggy daycare in Franklinton, which is still reeling from the coronavirus. Playful Pets owner Steve Faulkner said when Ohio’s stay-at-home order took effect, his business plunged into survival mode. Faulkner credits the federal Paycheck Protection Program for helping him to keep his employees on the payroll.

“This money is intended for hard working families,” Faulkner said. “That’s how I used this money, that’s how others have used this money and that’s the purpose of it.”

Faulkner joined Ohio Republican leaders Wednesday in denouncing the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) for receiving more than $333,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loan funds.

Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken said it was “incredibly wrong” for a political party to accept the forgivable loan funds.

“They should return this money,” Timken said. “It is unethical and quite possibly illegal for them to do this. That money was for small businesses, not for political campaign activities. They should return the money.”

The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to help small businesses and nonprofits pay their employees during the pandemic. PPP loans will be largely forgiven if the funds were used to maintain payroll.

The ODP has said the funds were used keep employees on the payroll.

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Hilliard) said the ODP may have violated the law. He said the law does not include political organizations among those eligible for PPP funds.

“I don’t see how it would be legal,” Stivers said. “It is a huge, huge moral hazard to allow taxpayer money to subsidize one political party against another and I hope they do the right thing.

The Paycheck Protection Program remains open for applications through Aug 8.  The Small Business Administration says more than 4.9 million loans have been made to support more than 51 million jobs in businesses, industries and nonprofits of all kinds. The average loan size is approximately $100,000.

Kirstin Alvanitakis, spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party, issued the following statement:

“The Ohio GOP is clearly desperate to distract from the coronavirus crisis, which is spiraling out of control, and Donald Trump’s stunning corruption and incompetence. But to throw out baseless allegations — when prominent Ohio GOP lobbying firms and political operatives paid by Steve Stivers have benefited from PPP loans — is just reckless.”

Coronavirus in Ohio resources: