Some companies create such a successful business model that they are able to develop financing arms dedicated to creating more opportunities to bring their product to market. However, some companies have the good fortune of having a dedicated bank backed by the full faith and credit of the American taxpayer.
There has been much in the news about the Export-Import bank in recent months, and unsurprisingly, Boeing has become the lead advocate for the re-authorization of Ex-Im’s charter that is due to expire on June 30th of this year.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the bank has been labeled as “Boeing’s Bank” due to the billions in financing that the government agency has provided the aerospace company in recent years. Last year, Boeing received over 68% of Ex-Im’s long-term guarantees and 40% of the total authorizations. Despite claims that Ex-Im exists to help small businesses, those entities only accounted for 25% of the authorizations.
Boeing is a global leader in aerospace and defense and they have contributed in multiple ways to the betterment of our country and our economy. In fact, 2nd Vote’s research on Boeing shows that they are not particularly ideological across the board when it comes to policy advocacy. (Boeing does match employee contributions to Planned Parenthood, but they are generally neutral on most issues.)
However, the relationship between Boeing and the Ex-Im Bank illustrates the reasons why conservatives need to hold large companies to the principles of the free market as opposed to corporate cronyism where the government is picking winners and losers. Boeing, and its advocacy for the Ex-Im Bank, is a prime example of a corporation that can leverage its size and resources to pursue its own interests.
According to the New York Times, Boeing has spent $69 million since 2012 lobbying Congress in part to continue Ex-Im’s operations. The Times also documented the activism coordinated by Boeing and its allies who “flooded the halls of Congress” and “mobilized dozens of Boeing suppliers and other small companies to knock on Capitol Hill doors, call lawmakers and generally do the public work that the biggest recipients of Ex-Im help… avoid.”
Boeing isn’t just engaging in policy advocacy, the aerospace company has a history of using its political connections to secure favorable results. The Washington Free Beacon reports that Boeing made a $900,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation just months after then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped secure a $3.7 million purchase of Boeing aircraft by a Russian airline. Another tie to the Clinton family comes through the Podesta Group, co-founded by Clinton’s 2016 Campaign Chairman John Podesta, which was hired in 2012 to lobby for the Ex-Im re-authorization on behalf of Boeing. Clinton’s support for the Ex-Im Bank is well-documented, especially when it comes to Clinton Foundation donors.
Boeing’s activity and advocacy suggest that company will continue to push for handouts at the expense of the taxpayer. Naturally, conservatives want businesses to flourish, and Boeing is no exception. They are a great American success story. However, free-market principles should not be sacrificed for handouts to the well-connected in the form of corporate welfare.
Large corporations like Boeing need to be held to the same standards that we hold small businesses and individuals.
Chris Walker is the Executive Director of 2nd Vote, a conservative shopper app. To find out more, download the free app or visit 2ndVote.com.