CAGW Names Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) July Porker of the Month

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) its July Porker of the Month for his efforts to resurrect the wasteful Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank.

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 $27.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2014.

Rep. Fincher has a long and winding history with the bank.  Elected in 2010 as a Tea Party fiscal conservative, he voted against the bank in 2012.  But he now leads the coalition attempting to raise it from the dead. 

Not only has Rep. Fincher flip-flopped, he has repeatedly made erroneous claims in defense of the bank.  In a July 15, 2015 speech on the floor of the House, Rep. Fincher claimed the bank, “supports about 200,000 jobs each year at no cost, let me repeat, no cost.”  That claim is often repeated by proponents of the bank.  However, a May 2014 Congressional Budget Office report found that when the fair value accounting method is used, Ex-Im Bank has an estimated 10-year cost of $2 billion.

Rep. Fincher also defended his newfound support for Ex-Im as being about employment for small businesses.  “Back home in the district, it’s jobs, jobs, jobs,” Fincher said.  Once again, Rep. Fincher is pushing flawed arguments.  About two-thirds of the bank’s payouts went to only 10 businesses in 2013, some of which had profit margins in the hundreds of millions.  Stable, profitable companies such as Boeing, Caterpillar, Chevron, Dell, and Halliburton, have all received taxpayer support from the Ex-Im Bank despite having had no trouble securing private financing. 

The bank is also a haven for fraud.  A July 2014 review of Ex-Im Bank Office of Inspector General data by The Heritage Foundation found that between October 2007 and March 2014, there were 792 claims of fraud resulting in 124 investigations.  Since 2009, there have been 85 indictments for fraud, bribery, or other wrongdoing, with 48 criminal judgments issued.  That is among the many reasons why elimination of the Ex-Im Bank was included in Prime Cuts 2015.

CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “CAGW was pleased when the Ex-Im Bank expired on June 30, 2015.  We had hoped Members of Congress who claimed to stand for fiscal discipline would follow through on their pledge to taxpayers, but Rep. Fincher has betrayed that commitment.  He campaigned one way and voted another way.  His efforts to resurrect the Ex-Im Bank should be defeated.” 

For his leadership in the battle to revive a wasteful and unnecessary haven for corporate welfare, CAGW names Rep. Stephen Fincher its July 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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