Export Import Bank giving loans to deadbeats

  • 5 June 2019
  • NormanL

The Export-Import Bank is a little known federal institution with a very long history of aiding and abetting crony capitalism. But the agency has another, even worse, ascpet to its operations: it's been giving taxpayer-backed loans to deadbeats. According to the Government Accountability Office:

EXIM has procedures to identify applicants and participants with delinquent federal debt, such as obtaining applicants' credit reports that may indicate these debts when they apply to EXIM's financing programs. However, EXIM is missing additional opportunities to use readily available data containing delinquent federal debt indicators from the General Services Administration's (GSA) System for Award Management (SAM) to detect applicants and participants that may have delinquent federal debt. Federal law states that applicants who are delinquent on federal nontax debts may not receive federal direct loans, loan guarantees, or loan insurance until the delinquent debt is satisfactorily resolved. Using data from SAM, GAO found that, from calendar years 2014 through 2016, EXIM authorized transactions that had an aggregate authorization value of about $1.7 billion and were associated with 32 U.S.-based companies that had a delinquent federal debt indicator in SAM in the same month EXIM authorized these transactions . While these results alone do not mean EXIM should have suspended these transactions, they do indicate that there is a practical opportunity to use SAM data to help determine applicants' eligibility. Without assessing the practicality of pursuing such readily available data, EXIM is potentially forgoing opportunities to perform additional due diligence that would help inform its decisions about applicants' and participants' program eligibility and fraud risks.

This could be an instance of one arm of government being utterly unaware of what another arm is up to. It could also be a simple oversight. But regardless of the reason, the Export Import Bank has been giving taxpayer-back loans to businesses that are already behind on their debts to Uncle Sam.

That's bad business. But it's also one more piece of evidence the Export Import Bank needs to be shut down for good. You can read the entire GAO report here.