A small-business owner in Maryland who previously served time after being convicted on drug and gun charges is suing the Small Business Administration for denying Paycheck Protection Program loans to business owners with criminal histories.

The 33-page complaint, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, alleges the SBA is making an illegal, “moral” judgment never intended by Congress—and, in fact, directly legislated against by Congress, the suit says—by withholding the loans, which are meant to help smaller businesses survive the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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