Poliquin: The Export-Import Bank Must Be Held Accountable


Maine’s Second District is home to the hardest-working, most honest people that you could ever find in this country.

As the Export-Import Bank’s reputation continues to decline around the world, it will be difficult for the Chairman, Fred Hochberg, to find supporters in the Second District.

Over the past five years at the Export-Import Bank, there have been 48 convictions for fraud, an average of 37 on-going investigations for fraud and corruption, 66 years of jail time and $224 million of fines.

This type of on-going mismanagement is not acceptable and should not be rewarded. I believe these individuals must be held accountable.

To that end, I expressed my concerns with Chairman Hochberg at a Financial Services Committee hearing last week on his bank’s bad reputation and how it puts taxpayers on the hook.

During the hearing, Chairman Hochberg was adamant in saying that there was no cost to the taxpayer. Well, Mr. Hochberg, all of us Mainers know that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

For an example, I told the Chairman that a nongovernment bank, like Machias Valley Savings, isn’t able to provide credit to most foreign companies because the Export-Import Bank steps in and is backstopped by our taxpayers that are on the hook if something goes wrong.

This means that our U.S. banks, which might be able to extend those loans, aren’t able to do so. So there’s a cost to those banks, in the nongovernment sector, and also to the people they employ.

I also expressed my concerns with Export-Import Bank’s bad reputation due to the on-going fraud and corruption charges and millions of dollars in fines.

Recently, there was a bank employee, Johnny Gutierrez, who accepted tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for the bank’s assistance.

In addition, there is a Congressman from Louisiana who is in jail, right now, on bribery charges. Authorities found $90,000 of cash in his freezer that was associated with lending practices at the Bank.

These are just a few of the never-ending list of fraud and corruption charges that surround the Export-Import Bank.

With the only way to hold the Export-Import Bank accountable is by the power to re-authorize their charter, we must have all the facts.

The facts thus far have not been impressive.

With the deadline for the Export-Import Bank approaching, I will continue to meet and speak with Mainers about their views on the Export-Import Bank and express their opinions in the upcoming hearings.

Please be sure to watch my questioning with Export-Import Chairman, Fred Hochberg, below. I will continue to ask the hard questions for the folks of Maine’s Second District.


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