CAGW Names Rep. Charlie Dent October Porker of the Month

Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) its October Porker of the Month for his efforts to allow the wasteful Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank to function with limited accountability.

The Ex-Im Bank is an independent government agency that was founded in 1934 to help encourage U.S. exports.  The bank provides taxpayer-backed direct loans, guarantees, and export credit insurance, which totaled $12.4 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2015.

Rep. Dent called Ex-Im, “an important job creation tool of the United States” in a lengthy defense of the bank in an August 12, 2016, Lebanon Daily News op-ed.  But, Rep. Dent is failing to tell his constituents the inconvenient fact that 64 percent of Ex-Im Bank financing is directed to just 10 giant, highly profitable corporations, including a whopping 40 percent to Boeing.  Stable, profitable companies have all received taxpayer support from the Ex-Im Bank despite having had no trouble securing private financing. 

Rep. Dent claimed that Ex-Im was critical for Pennsylvania’s economy.  However, an analysis by Veronique de Rugy at the Mercatus Center found that the bank only supports “roughly 1 percent of all Pennsylvania exports.”  Furthermore, “less than 0.3 percent of small business employees and less than 0.04 percent of small business establishments benefit from the Ex-Im Bank annually.” 

After taxpayer groups, including the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, convinced Congress to allow the bank’s charter to expire on June 31, 2015, Rep. Dent was a key leader in the effort to resurrect the bank.  He voted to reauthorize it at the end of 2015 and took credit for ensuring the Bank’s survival.  Now, Rep. Dent is fighting to allow the bank to operate with just two board members instead of three, which means one-third less accountability for the taxpayer-backed corporate welfare it provides.  Rep. Dent, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), attempted to circumvent regular order by attaching this authority to the short-term continuing resolution (CR) on September 28, 2016.  While that effort failed, they had already succeeded in attaching the same provision to the fiscal year 2017 Foreign Operations appropriations bill that will likely be included in the omnibus spending bill that is expected to pass before the current CR expires on December 9, 2016.

CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “The Ex-Im Bank is an anathema to taxpayers.  The fact that this haven of corporate welfare was resurrected in 2015 was bad enough, but now Rep. Dent and his congressional cronies are trying to enable the bank to waste more taxpayer dollars with even less oversight.  Rep. Dent and his allies seem intent on maintaining their inexplicable support for this misguided agency despite its abundant flaws.  There is a reason that elimination of the Ex-Im Bank was included in CAGW’s Prime Cuts 2016.  Taxpayers deserve better.”

For his dubious efforts to facilitate an unaccountable, wasteful, and unnecessary haven for corporate welfare, CAGW names Rep. Charlie Dent its October Porker of the Month.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.  Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.

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