Can the Washington swamp defeat Trump's nominee to run the Export-Import Bank?
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What do special interests do when their federal subsidies might be threatened? They try to put in one of their own to run the very agency in charge of their subsidies.

That’s exactly what supporters of the Export-Import Bank are doing as they launch a full-court press to sink Scott GarrettErnest (Scott) Scott GarrettBiz groups take victory lap on Ex-Im Bank Export-Import Bank back to full strength after Senate confirmations Manufacturers support Reed to helm Ex-Im Bank MORE’s nomination to head the Ex-Im Bank. Fortunately for Scott Garrett, we’ve seen how well President Trump responds when he’s bullied. President Trump knew exactly what he was getting when he nominated former New Jersey Congressman Scott Garrett to the Ex-Im post, and the president shouldn’t change course just because a handful of crony corporations and DC lobbyists are unhappy.

The American people elected President Trump because he’s a reformer, and he isn’t afraid to shake up business as usual in Washington and across the country. The Ex-Im Bank is no exception much to the dismay—and campaign contributions—of crony corporations.

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The only thing more ludicrous than multibillion-dollar corporations thinking they’re entitled to hardworking Americans’ money is the fact these same corporations are also condemning President Trump’s nomination to lead the Ex-Im Bank. If these special interests succeed in replacing Garrett with one of their own, the result will be regulatory capture at its worst.

 

While far too many Americans struggle to provide for their families, these cronies have the audacity to cry poverty demanding more and more taxpayer handouts while simultaneously bragging about their “robust” futures.

At the top of Ex-Im’s crony list is Boeing, the multinational aerospace giant. Instead of calling it the Ex-Im Bank, it would be more accurate to call it the Bank of Boeing, since a majority of the Bank’s subsidies go to the company.

Ex-Im Bank was reauthorized in late 2015, but it hasn’t had a sufficient quorum on its board of directors. This means Ex-Im has not been able to hand out big loans to Boeing since June 2015. This has saved taxpayers money, but it’s driving Boeing nuts. If you listened to them, you would think this halt in the Bank’s full operation has significantly damaged Boeing’s balance sheet.

But that’s not the case. Far from it.

Boeing had record-high cash flow of $10.5 billion in 2016. It also currently has a backlog of orders to build nearly 6,000 commercial airplane orders totaling roughly $473 billion. Boeing’s shareholders have been richly rewarded too. The company doled out $10 billion in dividends and stock buybacks last year alone. And Boeing’s stock is up 71 percent since mid-2015. That’s almost $60 billion in new shareholder wealth and all without Ex-Im’s subsidies!

But that hasn’t stopped Boeing from using its riches to influence Congress. Boeing’s PAC alone spent $2 million last year to ensure senators like Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPelosi, Schumer hit 'flailing' Trump over 'sham ceasefire' deal Pompeo to meet Netanyahu as US alliances questioned Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe MORE (R-S.C.) remain in its back pocket.

The only thing more egregious than giving away hardworking taxpayers’ money to multibillion-dollar companies is to give it to a “bank” that’s wrought with waste, fraud, and corruption. For example, in 2015, the bank faced 800 fraud claims and nearly 90 criminal indictments. It’s difficult for even supporters of the bank to rationalize and defend this sort of abhorrent behavior.

Despite the reality of corruption and mismanagement plaguing the Ex-Im Bank, crony corporations remain determined to defend their subsidies and handouts. Acting as selfishly as expected, the crony corporations seek to take control of the Bank for their own greedy purposes. The most recent example is what they are doing to sink Trump’s nominee, Scott Garrett. Their end goal being to replace Garrett with a special interest, lobbyist-approved crony.

Instead of kowtowing to the special interests, President Trump should flat-out ignore them and keep his campaign promise to drain the swamp.

Andy Roth is the vice president of government affairs at the Club for Growth, a non-profit group aimed at promoting limited government.


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