Today’s most under the radar news, just as Citigroup was to Congress, and the swaps push out language, so Boeing, that primary recipients of the generosity of America’s Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, has been caught red-handed drafting the rules of none other than the Ex-Im bank itself! According to the WSJ: “when the Export-Import Bank sought to respond to critics with tighter rules for aircraft sales, it reached out to a company with a vested interest in the outcome: Boeing Co., the biggest beneficiary of the bank’s assistance.”
Or nothing more than a criminal conflict of interest, which, once again, is at the expense of America’s infinite bailout piggybank: it’s taxpayers.
For months in 2012, according to about 50 pages of emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the bank worked with Boeing to write rules that would satisfy critics in Congress and the domestic commercial airline industry—while leaving most sales of Boeing’s airplanes to foreign carriers unscathed.
Ex-Im Bank, which helps finance the purchase of U.S. exports through loans and guarantees, is the target of Republicans who want to kill it, in part because they say it mostly provides subsidies to America’s largest companies. The Boeing emails will add fuel to that fight.
The previously unreported documents, obtained through an open-records request, show how the two sides swapped ideas, drafts and data on sales of wide-body airplanes. Ex-Im Bank officials pushed their Boeing counterparts for information. Boeing suggested changes to the bank’s draft proposal.
They reveal an extraordinary level of coordination between public officials and corporate executives. In a message one Saturday morning, Bob Morin, then the bank’s head of aircraft financing, sent a plea: “If Boeing expects Ex-Im Bank to continue supporting wide-body aircraft, we need to get this right.”
This is how Boeing explained, or rather didn’t, yet another corporate crony capture: “Officials at Boeing declined to comment on the emails. In general, said Tim Myers, president of Boeing Capital Corp., Boeing’s aircraft-financing unit, “it would be only natural” for the bank to ask for input since Boeing is the only U.S. maker of wide-body commercial aircraft.”
Yes: it is only natural that the firm that benefits the most from the Ex-Im bank’s generosity, be consulted, write the rules and regulations, and generally assure it continues to benefit, unsupervised and unchecked, from the same bank.
Much more in the full WSJ piece, but those who are easily disgusted or with high blood pressure are advised to stay away.