Crony Capitalists Rally for ExImBank Subsidies to Mega-Corporations

By:  Thomas R. Eddlem
Crony Capitalists Rally for ExImBank Subsidies to Mega-Corporations

The rising opposition in Congress to renewal of the charter for the Export-Import Bank from Tea Party congressmen has spawned an all-out effort by crony capitalist lobbyists in organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Wall Street Journal reported July 7 that “the primary defeat last month of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R, Va.), who was a big proponent of the bank, and the growing sway of tea party and other conservative groups within the House GOP conference has bolstered opposition to the bank.”

That push is being led by Tea Party Republicans elected in the 2010 and 2012 elections. Utah Senator Mike Lee and Michigan Congressman Justin Amash — both of whom went to Washington in the midst of the 2010 Tea Party foment — have both sponsored legislation to abolish the ExImBank. “The Export-Import Bank has always been a bad idea and needs to be shut down,” Rep. Amash said. “Export subsidies, like those provided by the Export-Import Bank, serve only to enrich well-connected special interests at the expense of the rest of the country.”

But the crony capitalists are pushing back with an aggressive lobbying effort. "There's a full inside-the-Beltway, outside-the-Beltway push," Christopher Wenk, senior director of international policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told the Wall Street Journal last month. "We're burning up shoe leather." Moreover, the Chamber of Commerce recently endorsed Amash's Republican primary opponent, Brian Ellis, who supports ExImBank subsidies. Ellis has threatened to put $1 million of his own money into the race, and the Chamber of Commerce has put together a $50 million fund targeting Tea Party Republicans across the nation. 

The Wall Street Journal reported July 7 that politically connected corporations are also lobbying aggressively, noting the effort was “part of a lobbying push by corporations such as Boeing Co. and General Electric Co., and business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers.” It's hardly surprising that those companies would lead the lobbying push, as they are the prime beneficiaries of ExImBank's loans. Recipients of ExImBank loans and loan guarantees constitute the very elite of Wall Street insider mega-corporations. A corporate membership in the establishment New York City-based Council on Foreign Relations is almost a prerequisite for a loan from the ExImBank. The largest recipients of loans from ExImBank are companies such as Boeing, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Deere & Company, Sikorsky Aircraft, and Dupont. All but the last two are CFR corporate members

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