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Ex-Im president braces for Hill hot seat

Ex-Im president braces for Hill hot seat
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Export Import Bank President Fred Hochberg is preparing to offer a full-scale defense for the Bank's survival Wednesday when he will testify before members of the House Financial Services Committee.
 
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He will seek to highlight the embattled bank's work financing small businesses, bucking criticism from Republican critics who say it's a form of "corporate welfare" for big businesses like Boeing.
 
Congress must reauthorize the bank — which faces stiff opposition in certain factions of the Republican Party — by June 30 or it shuts down.
 
"To ... thousands of other Main Street America small businesses, Ex-Im provides peace of mind so that entrepreneurs can focus on beating out foreign competition with high quality, innovative products rather than worrying about whether lack of financing will keep them out of the game," Hochberg will testify, according to the testimony obtained first by The Hill.
 

Hochberg Testimony 4.15.15

 
Hochberg will also argue that Bank officials have implemented the reforms mandated by Congress during the 2012 reauthorization fight. Each of the three Ex-Im reauthorization proposals in Congress include varying levels of reforms to the bank's structure.
 
But Hochberg will say the bank has exceeded the expectations set forth in the mandated reforms by hiring a chief risk officer, expanding monitoring efforts and increasing staffing in asset monitoring divisions 33 percent.
 
For Hochberg, a former Democratic campaign bundler, the political stakes could not be higher. Tea Party groups as well high-profile potential and current GOP presidential candidates — including former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — oppose the bank.
 
And Hochberg is sure to get questions about charges filed Monday against a former Ex-Im employee. 
 
Ex-Im Deputy Inspector General Michael T. McCarthy notified outspoken critic House Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) Tuesday that charges were filed against a former Ex-Im employee.
 

IG Letter to Hensarling 041415

 
According to court documents, Justice Department officials charged former Ex-Im Bank Loan Officer Johnny Gutierrez with one count of bribery.
 
Officials charge that Gutierrez "on 19 separate occasions, personally and corruptly sought and accepted things of personal value ... from another person and entity, in return for being influenced in the performance of his official acts."
 
Gutierrez pleaded the fifth at a Congressional hearing last year when he was called to testify about the incident.