I bet you don’t have an army of lobbyists.
Unfortunately, special interests pour millions of dollars every year into diverting your tax dollars to their own ends.
The Export-Import Bank is only the latest example to gain notoriety.
The good news is that it expired on June 30th.
The bad news is that, back in 2012, when no one was looking, Congressman Scott DesJarlais joined every single Democrat in the House of Representatives, including Nancy Pelosi, to vote to re-authorize the Export-Import Bank.
But what is the Export-Import Bank? Essentially, the federal government uses your tax dollars to loan money and guarantee loans to foreigners to buy certain American things.
Now, I personally believe in a free market– where, absent government interference, the need to please customers ensures that companies put forward the best product.
The typical Tennessee business can’t rely on the government to bail it out after a bad year in the red, nor can it rely on the government to co-sign loans on behalf of its customers.
But the Export-Import Bank isn’t designed to help the typical Tennessee business– it’s big corporate crony capitalism. 60 percent of the Export-Import Bank’s deals two years ago went to 10 companies.
In fact, the largest individual direct loan ever- $4.975 billion– went to Sadara Chemical Company—a joint venture between the oil giant Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical.
I’m not sure why the King of Saudi Arabia needs our tax dollars when his company not only is the world’s largest oil producer but brought in $378 billion in revenue last year.
Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart? Her mining company received a $635 million loan from the Export-Import Bank.
Remember Enron, the collapsed company whose CEO was sentenced to 24 years in federal prison for securities fraud? It received more than $2.5 billion of your tax dollars from the Export-Import Bank.
Four years ago, the Export-Import Bank gave Solyndra, the “green energy” company whose primary investors bankrolled Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, more than $10 million in loan-guarantees before that company went bankrupt.
And earlier this year, we learned that U.S. taxpayers could be on the hook for a loss of about $150 million after the Export-Import bank loaned money to an Australian company that went bankrupt in April.
But even if you did believe that the government should be intervening against the free market, the Export-Import Bank should give someone pause – because when government bureaucrats are charged with spending other people’s money in the marketplace, they don’t simply do a bad job, they can be susceptible to corruption.
One former Export-Import Bank loan officer, Johnny Gutierrez, pled guilty to taking illegal cash bribes in 19 different instances from 2006-2013.
A former Export-Import Bank business development specialist, Maureen Njideka Edu, was indicted in 2009 after she admitted to taking a $100,000 bribe from a West African businessman.
Michael McCarthy, the current inspector general for the Export-Import Bank, has said that 31 current cases of corruption involve more than 31 different Export-Import Bank employees that could yield further indictments.
Real conservatives made a valiant stand to end this boondoggle in 2012. But they failed. Democrats, with the help of Congressman DesJarlais, re-authorized the Export-Import Bank.
Today, the Export-Import Bank enjoys considerably more publicity. And suddenly, Congressman DesJarlais says he’s against it, calling it an institution of “crony capitalism” and “corporate welfare.”
My question is simple: what are the principles Congressman DesJarlais relies on when considering what to vote for?
I believe we can and must do better: Tennessee demands representatives who are consistent conservatives, not those who are conservative when convenient.
Read this article in The Tennessean: http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/contributors/2015/07/27/desjarlais-ex-im-bank-before-he-against/30754437/