Administration Turns to Private Firms to Help Process Small Business Aid

Mr. Emerson and Errin Green, the chairwoman and chief executive of RER Solutions, said their firms had nothing to do with the disaster-loan website that reportedly experienced problems last week.

Neither RER, nor Rocket Loans, would say how much of the money from the work would go to Rocket Loans.

Representatives from Rocket Loans have reached out in recent days to outside law firms and others for help in expanding the company’s operations to handle the government work, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort.

Frank Taylor, whose company, The First Choice, bid against RER Solutions for the S.B.A. contract in 2018 and unsuccessfully challenged the decision to award it to RER, said that the systems created by RER and Rocket Loans “were not set up to take the volume of S.B.A. loans” likely to flood the system from businesses and people affected by coronavirus.

“And now it’s biting them in the butt,” he said.

Mr. Taylor asserted Rocket Loans did not have a track record in government contracting sufficient to warrant trusting it with the S.B.A. contract, and suggested that Mr. Gilbert’s political connections may have played a role in his company landing the work.

“I’ve learned in this business that politics plays a role in every aspect of the federal government, so it would not surprise me,” said Mr. Taylor, who described himself as a Democrat.

Mr. Emerson, the Rocket Loans spokesman, pointed out that Mr. Gilbert’s companies had donated to Democratic committees, as well, though those donations pale in comparison to donations by Mr. Gilbert and Quicken to Republicans.

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