Major Ex-Im Beneficiaries Pour Millions Into Lobbying Efforts for Subsidies

Two of the banks largest programs are frantically pushing for the bank’s renewal

Boeing international headquarter
Boeing international headquarters / Wikimedia Commons

Two large companies who receive taxpayer-backed financing from the Export-Import bank have poured millions into recent lobbying efforts to revive the controversial bank.

The government-owned Ex-Im bank, which provides taxpayer-backed loans to foreign companies for the purchase of American goods, left the companies scrambling to find private funding in place of the subsidies after the expiration of the bank’s charter June 30.

Boeing Co. and General Electric, who are the two largest beneficiaries of the bank, increased their lobbying expenditures in recent months as the charter was nearing expiration, according to newly released lobbying disclosure reports.

The disclosure reports show that from April 1 to June 30, aerospace conglomerate Boeing Co. spent $9.3 million on lobbying efforts—the third highest total of any company or organization during the period—and deployed 20 lobbyists to Capitol Hill in efforts to revive the bank. This was more than twice the amount from the $3.8 million Boeing spent on lobbying efforts in the first quarter of 2015.

Last year, Boeing received over $8.1 billion from the Export-Import bank. This figure accounted for over 40 percent of Ex-Im’s total authorizations making it by far the bank’s largest program. When looking at long-term guarantees, their percentage of the bank’s total authorizations skyrockets to 68 percent. Due to these figures, critics often to refer to the Export-Import bank as "Boeing’s Bank."

General Electric, another major benefactor from the bank, poured $8.5 million into their ramped up lobbying push during the second quarter and was the fourth largest lobbying spender from April until late June.

Like Boeing, General Electric has reason for the frantic reauthorization push. General Electric is the second largest benefactor from the Export-Import bank, having received billions from the bank as well.

Supporters of the bank, including President Obama, argue small and medium-sized businesses will suffer if the bank’s charter is not renewed.

However, experts say just 24 percent of the bank’s total funds go to small businesses. Additionally, more than 99.9 percent of small businesses within the United States do not benefit from the bank in any way.

During fiscal year 2014, more than 75 percent of the bank’s financing benefited large corporations with over a billion dollars spent on companies such as Caterpillar, Applied Materials Inc., and Bechtel on top of Boeing and General Electric. Additionally, in 2013, 64 percent of the bank’s money went to just 10 large companies.