In recent months, it seems Ex-Im has had to suspend or remove four top officials from their positions due to allegations of bribery, corporate favoritism, and other bureaucratic improprieties. The investigation’s targets include one high level employee by the name of Johnny Gutierrez, from Ex-Im’s short-term trade finance division, who ostensibly accepted “kickback” payments in exchange for helping to authorize financing for a Florida construction equipment company called Impex. According to the report:
In 2012, 61-percent of House Republicans voted to reauthorize and expand the Export-Import Bank. Just two years later, party leaders feel compelled to call for its elimination.
Congress and the media have taken note of conservative opposition to reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank this September, and they’ve picked up on our willingness to take politicians to task for Ex-Im Bank related cronyism. But as CQ.com notes, the effort to end the Bank is part of a “deeper phenomenon” (sub. req’d):
[E]ven if the bank is reauthorized, there’s a longer-term and deeper phenomenon occurring: the growth within conservative ranks of opposition to traditional Chamber of Commerce Republican positions, including but not limited to the Ex-Im Bank.
“Traditional Chamber of Commerce Republican” is no complement. From a conservative perspective, “the Chamber and the Business Roundtable are proving to be friends first of big business, not struggling American workers or would-be entrepreneurs.”
What could be less palatable to a conservative championing limited government and free markets than a taxpayer-backed government entity boasting its alleged support of small business? A whole group of government entities getting together to boast about their alleged support of small business.
That’s happening June 26 when a variety of these entities will join the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) a their Expanding Horizons workshop for Florida’s small businesses:
OPIC officials will speak about the variety of financing and risk mitigation tools the Agency has to offer small businesses expanding into developing markets. Additional speakers will include senior officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) 49% supports the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which comes as no surprise once you know that he’s benefited from its activities. The Hill reports:
Heritage Action criticized Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) on Monday for his company’s benefiting from the Export Import Bank, saying it is an example of “Washington working for itself.”
Collins’ is a co-founder and serves on the board of directors for Audubon Machinery Corporation, which reported a combined capital guarantee and trade insurance worth $8.33 million between 2007 and 2014, according to Ex-Im records.
Collins has been circulating a letter among his colleagues urging House GOP leadership to reauthorize Ex-Im, which expires in September. The letter is endorsed by The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.
Collins reported $1 million and $5 million in year-end value of owned Audubon stock in financial disclosures filed in April 2013.