When you read an article about the Export-Import Bank and all the jobs it’s helping to create by “investing” in green energy technologies around the world, hold your applause. One such article
touts the $780,000, 10-year loan guarantee for the export of photovoltaic (PV) solar modules from a Georgia-based company, Suniva Inc., to a rooftop solar-power project in Mexico.
While some characterize Suniva as a “fast-growing solar startup often held up as an example of American innovation,” the Norcross, GA-based company is no stranger to the Washington game. According to Open Secrets, the company has spent $360,000 lobbying lawmakers.
In 2011, after expressing “displeasure” with Department of Energy’s “terms and conditions, Suniva abandoned efforts to secure a $141 million loan. Instead, the company received a hefty tax incentive from the Michigan Economic Growth Authority “to open a $250 million solar cell manufacturing facility in the Great Lakes Technology Solar Park.”
It pays to have friends in high places. It also pays to have friends on the advisory committee of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which we’ve exposed several times
in the past for the blatant, gratuitous cronyism in which they engage and for the bank’s part in the left’s global green energy agenda
The Washington Free Beacon reports that the Ex-Im Bank “recently steered hundreds of millions of dollars in federal loans to Spanish green energy conglomerate Abengoa.” Interestingly, Abengoa “happens to share an advisory board member with the bank.” The member is former Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
An Ex-Im Bank spokesman said that Richardson “had no communication or role with anyone at the bank regarding this transaction.” However, Richardson is connected to Diane Farrell, a former Ex-Im Bank director who “voted to approve a final commitment on an $83 million loan to Abengoa.”
Whether or not Richardson had some degree of direct or indirect involvement in or influence on the decision to grant Abengoa these U.S. taxpayer backed loans is not entirely clear, but the optics are bad regardless. It gives weight to the narrative that the Ex-Im Bank engages in cronyism and political favoritism.
The National reports
that Flydubai, an airline founded in 2008 by the Government of Dubai, is likely to make a profit for the first time, at least according to the airline’s chief executive Ghaith Al Ghaith.
Why should you care? Well, if you’re an American, you have a vested interest in this airline flourishing, because $117.5 million of your taxpayer dollars have gone to finance the airline’s purchase of its first of three Boeing 737-800NG aircrafts. And your vested interest is not of your own volition, of course; it’s thanks to the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of the United States.
Heritage Action opposes the Export-Import Bank
because it’s a tool for cronyism and an inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars, putting us on the hook for multi-million dollar loans to foreign companies. Our money has gone to a number of frivolous projects, such as an aquarium in Brazil and the export of PV modules (solar panels) to the Barbados-based company, Williams Industries-Williams Evergreen.
Understandably, achieving conservative victories in Congress is generally an uphill battle. Electing conservatives to Congress – as Americans did in 2010 – is a step in the right direction, but their ability to accomplish conservative goals is greatly enhanced if they get into some of the more significant and influential committees; conversely, if conservative members are blocked by the Establishment from these influential positions, the climb to success is much steeper.
Heading into the 113th Congress, the House Financial Services Committee should be viewed as a key committee.
Heritage Action has identified a number of steps that principled conservatives need to take in the next Congress. Reform is needed in several areas either because the idea was poorly thought out from the start, like the Volcker Rule, or because it has become moot, like the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA).