During the Trump administration, Congress appropriated billions of dollars for COVID relief, mostly to help small businesses survive by paying their employees. The main relief was the Payroll Protection Program, which dispersed nearly $800 billion. The program was run through the Small Business Administration, and there was little, if any, oversight. Some businesses that didn’t need financial aid applied for money and got it.

Millions of dollars were paid out to businesses, churches, synagogues, private schools, charter schools, religious schools, and all sorts of other enterprises. Charter schools, which never lost funding, received more than a billion dollars and received six times as much COVID relief as public schools. Public schools were not allowed to apply for the PPP program. ProPublica created a site where you can see who received PPP money in any zip code.

In Kansas, a former legislator was just convicted of COVID fraud. His case was noteworthy because his calling card was his alleged deep religious faith. Just as interesting is the publication in which the story appears. It’s called Only Sky, and it is pointedly a voice for secularism in a region where Elmer Gantry could get rich every day at tent revivals. The story was written by Hemant Mehta.

Michael Capps, a former Kansas lawmaker who once sponsored a bill to put the words “In God We Trust” in every federal building, has been found guilty of committing COVID relief fraud and money laundering.

His career wasn’t supposed to end this way. In 2018, the Republican was appointed to the Kansas State House and won his own election bid later that year. Like other members of his party, he used his time in office to push Christianity on everyone. That’s why, in addition to his anti-trans and anti-abortion bills, Capps sponsored a bill to put “In God We Trust” in public buildings, including public schools….

Capps was defeated in 2020.

After losing that race, he could have just faded away. Instead, in 2021, Capps was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of COVID relief fraud and money laundering:

An indictment filed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas says Capps bilked federal, state and local agencies for more than $450,000 in COVID-19 business recovery funds.

Capps inflated his payroll and applied for loans to pay employees who don’t exist, according to the indictment.

The federal indictment says Capps laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars in COVID relief funding through his businesses and charity between May and August 2020.

Why did Capps do it? Maybe because the words “In God We Trust” weren’t on the walls of his office building. Or maybe because criminals are criminals and Christianity makes for a great cover story to stop people from looking over you shoulder while you’re working on a scam.

Whatever the reason, a jury has now found Michael Capps guilty on 12 felony charges (out of a possible 18):

Capps defrauded Emprise Bank, U.S. Small Business Administration and Kansas Department of Commerce out of $355,550 in COVID-19 recovery funds, the jury found. He then transferred the money through business and personal accounts, including some money that went into investment funds.

Capps remains out on bond while he awaits his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for March 10. He could face millions of dollars in fines and decades in prison.

He should be excited. That’s plenty of time to read the Bible over and over….

Again: This was a guy who spent his time in office pretending that Jesus made you a better person. He was a liar then. He’s a liar now. He’s a perfect example of why you should never trust a politician who takes the Bible more seriously than the Constitution.