The Corner

Economy & Business

Ex-Im President Is Campaigning for Hillary Clinton

The close connection between the president of the federal crony Ex-Im Bank, Fred Hochberg, and Hillary Clinton has been established before. Well, for those of you who had any doubts about the close connection between Clinton and Hochberg, read this:

Fred P. Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, will be in New Hampshire today to campaign on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

At 12:45 p.m., Hochberg plans to attend an organizing event for LGBT for Hillary at 799 South St. in Portsmouth. This morning, he was scheduled for coffee discussions with business leaders in Manchester and Portsmouth.

Thanks to Tim Carney for the tip. I like how he calls Ex-Im Bank “The International Bank of Clinton.”

How nice of Hochberg to give a hand to one of the politicians who supported his agency when it was in trouble. Is that legal, though? Also, how common is it for the head of a federal agency to campaign for a candidate like that? It is convenient, I guess, that he can make a stop to have coffee with business leaders about the benefits of Ex-Im. Does it mean that taxpayers are paying for the trip?

This is a good example of the other side of the unhealthy marriage between government officials and private companies — namely, the unhealthy marriage between heads of government agencies and politicians.

For what it is worth, Ex-Im is still not authorized to make a loan above $10 million, thanks to Senator Shelby (but no thanks to other senators). Shelby is not rushing to schedule hearings to confirm Obama nominees, and that includes Ex-Im’s third member of its board of directors. Having a quorum of three would allow the agency to start catering to giant companies like GE and Boeing, but also foreign borrowers like the giant Mexican state-owned oil company, Pemex.

Incidentally, have you noticed how the “sky is falling” propaganda coming from GE has stopped since Congress reauthorized Ex-Im? It’s strange because the company is still not able to benefit from the bank. I assume for GE it was just a muscle-flexing exercise to show Congress that they’d better not cross the company by taking its goodies away. Or maybe it is because the company won’t collapse without Ex-Im?

Still another possible explanation:The company’s president has been too busy lobbying for the $145 million in subsidies he negotiated with politicians in the state of Massachusetts to move its headquarters from Fairfield, Conn., to the environs of Boston to complain about Ex-Im’s inability to extend loans above $10 million. I feel sorry for taxpayers in the state because they were already losing out from the existence of Ex-Im and now they are footing the bill for subsidies to the company in spite of the large academic evidence that the return on investment from such corporate welfare is terrible.

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