Some critics calling for Congress to end the Export-Import Bank because it funds winners and losers with taxpayer money have benefited from government aid and, in one case, direct Ex-Im Bank financing.
Club for Growth president Chris Chocola has called the bank "a prime example of corporate welfare" even though the bank once helped his family business finance customer purchases. And Delta, which opposes the bank's aid to Boeing because it helps foreign airlines, was a beneficiary of the government's 2001 airline industry bailout.
"Actions speak louder than words," said one lobbyist working to reauthorize the bank. "Some opponents have accepted subsidies with tremendous taxpayer exposure and others even accepted Ex-Im loans."
With Congress debating reauthorizing the bank, which can guarantee loans for foreign buyers of American goods, and increasing its lending capabilities, the Club for Growth announced in January it opposed the reauthorization and would include the vote on its 2012 congressional scorecard.
"The Export-Import Bank is a prime example of corporate welfare that should have been eliminated years ago," Chocola said in a statement. "By picking winners and losers, politicians and bureaucrats are distorting trade flows. It's time to end the Ex-Im Bank for good."
Chocola's opposition comes after the bank helped CTB, his family's business that was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2002. The bank provided loans to customers in Venezuela and Kazakhstan to purchase CTB equipment, according to 2001 congressional testimony.
But Chocola is no fan of the bank today.
"The Club has consistently opposed corporate welfare and subsidies for big businesses," said Club spokesman Barney Keller. "His position is the same as the Club's position."
And Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter said comparing the bank's assistance to the airline industry bailout was "very much apples and oranges." The bailout, he said, "was a means to keep the entire U.S. industry out of bankruptcy" following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, adding that Delta is not opposed to the bank, but doesn't think the government should be helping Boeing sell planes to its rivals.
Delta has bought planes with export financing from Brazil and Canada, but "what we would really like is for nations to be out of the industry entirely," he said.