As governor, I feared that because global competitors use institutions similar to the Ex-Im Bank to help their companies export goods to us, shutting down the Ex-Im Bank would mean unilaterally disarming in a fight that Europe and China intend to win. That is why, in June 2014, I wrote a letter to Congress urging the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.
Next month, the bank comes up for reauthorization again—but this time I can’t get on board. I have been deeply disturbed by recent revelations of corruption and bribery at the institution. On April 13 the Justice Department announced that a former Ex-Im loan officer, Johnny Gutierrez, had pleaded guilty to accepting bribes on 19 separate occasions from people with interests before the bank. Michael McCarthy, Ex-Im’s acting inspector general, has told Congress that there are 31 corruption and fraud investigations into the bank still pending.
Those at Ex-Im who have abused the public trust must be pursued to the full extent of the law. But it may be that the best way to mend Ex-Im is to end it. Here’s why.