The Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) is set to expire on June 30. The bank is a taxpayer-funded boondoggle rife with numerous cases of waste, fraud, and abuse. Despite these controversies, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton strongly supports Ex-Im. In her own words: “I’d like to put the Ex-Im bank on steroids.”
Hillary attempts to justify her position by claiming the bank is vital for American exports. According to Clinton, Ex-Im is “a tool for us to be competitive in order to support our businesses exporting.” In reality, the bank’s financing goes to major corporations that do not need loans to be competitive. Over three quarters of Ex-Im loans benefit ten well-connected corporations. Less than one percent of one percent of US small businesses benefit from Ex-Im.
So why does Hillary Clinton support Ex-Im? Well, as the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney points out, a more appropriate name for Ex-Im bank may be the International Bank of Clinton. During a 2012 Ex-Im Conference, Bill Clinton said that “this audience is full of people who once worked for me.”
Most notably, Ex-Im President Fred Hochberg was a Clinton appointee and in 2008 he was a “Hillraiser”, meaning he helped raise six figures for Hillary’s failed Presidential campaign. Hochberg also donated a five figure sum to the Clinton Foundation, the non-profit that has come under scrutiny for – among other things — accepting donations from foreign leaders while Clinton was Secretary of State.
Ex-Im has also come under scrutiny for its connections to a consulting firm run by former Clinton officials. Questions over the bank’s decision to provide millions in loans to clients of the firm, which is run by Bill Clinton’s former Chief of Staff, led to watchdog groups filing a FOIA request in 2013. At this time Ex-Im has failed to comply with this request.
But perhaps the biggest reason that Clinton loves Ex-Im is because it has become part of her political machine. As House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) has noted, many of the biggest donors for the Clinton Foundation happen to be some of the biggest beneficiaries of Ex-Im:
“Hillary Clinton is a natural cheerleader for the Export-Import Bank. After all, Ex-Im’s biggest beneficiaries are foreign governments and giant corporations. Conveniently, these just happen to be among the biggest donors to the Clinton Foundation as well as major underwriters of the speaking fees that added millions of dollars to the Clinton bank account.”
Perhaps these donations are why Bill Clinton believes attacks on Ex-Im are “ridiculous.”
Hillary Clinton may want to play the populist card on the campaign trail, but her Ex-Im record makes her a crony capitalist through and through.