• Dems Ignore Inconvenient Truths About Ex-Im

    Colorado Democrats are urging constituents to support the Export-Import Bank, but their claims exaggerate the bank’s importance to the state and ignore failed investments.

    Ex-Im provides financing, mainly in the form of loan guarantees, to American exporters. Supporters claim this financing would not be available from private lenders, and that Ex-Im therefore boosts American exports and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs.

    In recent months, however, a number of prominent Republicans, including nearly all of the current presidential candidates, have attacked the bank as a fund for corporate welfare, pointing out that most of the bank’s financing goes to large corporations such as Boeing, which received 40 percent of the bank’s financing in 2014. (RELATED: Is the Export-Import Bank Done?)

    On Sunday, Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette sent an email to supporters urging them to support the bank, claiming that 110 Colorado businesses “would face significant losses if another round of hyper-partisan recklessness leads to the Export-Import Bank being shut down,” Watchdog reports.

    However, Watchdog notes that data available on Ex-Im’s website show her claim to be somewhat misleading. Although 110 Colorado companies received Ex-Im financing between 2007 and 2015, only 34 of those companies have had deals approved since 2014.

    Moreover, even if Congress declines to reauthorize Ex-Im’s charter before it expires on June 30, the bank would only lose the ability to extend new financing, and its existing arrangements would remain in effect, according to Reuters(RELATED: Exporters Worried Export-Import Bank’s Days Are Numbered)

    Subsequently, Democratic Rep. Jared Polis attended an event Monday with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Ex-Im Chairman Fred Hochberg during which they emphasized the bank’s contribution to a resurgence of U.S. agricultural exports over the past five years.

    The event was held at the site of Droplet Measurement Technologies, a cloud and aerosol measurement firm that won Ex-Im’s 2015 Small Business Exporter of the Year award, in order to highlight one the bank’s success stories. (RELATED: Small Business Becomes Pawn in Ex-Im’s Fate)

    One example they failed to mention, though, is that of Abound Solar, which declared bankruptcy in 2012. Prior to its collapse, Abound received a $9.2 million loan from Ex-Im, as well as a $400 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy.

    According to the Colorado Observer, Polis personally wrote a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu in 2009 supporting the loan guarantee for Abound, calling the company “a showcase for the positive impact that progressive government policies and initiatives can have on the economy, national energy security, and the environment.”

    Even with government support, Abound was unable to attain profitability, leaving taxpayers on the hook for tens of millions worth of loans that the company had collected before it was forced to close.

    Follow Peter Fricke on Twitter


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