Bennet’s Ex-Im vote chose rich foreign interests over Colorado’s middle-class
DENVER—Today in a rare Sunday session, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., voted to advance legislation that would reauthorize the recently expired Export-Import Bank through Sept. 30, 2019. The Senate voted to attach a revival of the Export-Import Bank to the highway funding bill.
“Sen. Bennet chose rich foreign interests, and well-connected entities, over Colorado’s middle-class. He turned a blind eye to corruption and voted to perpetuate corporate welfare on the backs of hardworking taxpayers,” said Jonathan Lockwood, executive director of Advancing Colorado, a free market advocacy group. “Free markets and the issue of human rights violations take a backseat when Bennet is making pivotal decisions for Colorado. The Ex-Im Bank enriches our competitors and supports countries who commit heinous crimes against their own citizens.”
There have been 124 investigations linked to corruption surrounding the bank including 792 separate claims involving more than $500 million dollars. The Ex-Im acting Inspector General revealed this year that 31 other Ex-Im Bank employees are currently being investigated for fraud.
Bennet has received at least $269,370 in campaign contributions from entities tied to the Export-Import Bank, and despite the bank’s highly publicized record of fraud and corruption, Bennet continues to advocate and stand for the bank’s reauthorization.
The Ex-Im Bank guaranteed Citibank $92 million in September 2014. Citigroup, Citibank’s parent company, contributed $44,300 to Bennet. Steptoe and Johnson, another donor to Bennet, makes guarantees available through the Ex-Im Bank. In addition Steptoe and Johnson donated $36,600 to Bennet. It continues: Hogan Lovells, League of Conservation Voters, and Akin, Gump, et al, all have ties to the Ex-Im Bank, all advocate for its reauthorization, and all supported Bennet totaling $141,386 in contributions. Kirkland and Ellis donated $47,084 to Bennet as well.
The Ex-Im Bank’s Colorado failures were highly publicized when taxpayers subsidized Boulder-based solar firm, Abound, with more than $9 million so they could sell solar panels to India. That amount was on top of the $400 million loan from the department of energy. The company received its Ex-Im Bank funds right before it went bankrupt and laid off hundreds of Colorado workers, left thousands of gallons of toxic waste pooling across the state and left a long list of creditors from Longmont to Germany.
The Ex-Im Bank has also given taxpayer funds to foreign oil companies totaling billions of dollars. Through the Ex-Im Bank, taxpayer funds have gone to countries like the Congo and Sudan, both known for human rights violations. The bank has financed Chinese power plants and has given money to Russian billionaires.