Officials of the Export-Import Bank of the United States blew the agency’s travel budget by millions of dollars after taking 400 first-class flights over the last three years, according to records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Ex-Im is a federal agency that provides taxpayer subsidies to U.S. exporters such as Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar.
Totals come to about $3 million: the Hill dryly noted that “[m]uch of the recent travel appears designed to build public support for the bank, which is in danger of seeing its charter lapse.” Bolding mine, and a bit of irony; clearly, ‘public’ in this context means that part of the ‘public’ that particularly enjoys its cozy crony relationship with a government agency that can make it rain. This is, of course, nothing like the regular definition of the ‘public,’ but since when did that ever stop a Beltway apparatchik*?
And let me note something, here: this perk is a government senior bureaucrat perk, not a government employee one. Regular government employees are expected to fly coach. They are not allowed to treat their departmental travel budget as a suggestion. They have to justify their travel in the first place. In short, they don’t get to drink deep from the government trough – delicacy keeps me from using an earthier metaphor – while performing their duties. That privilege is left to their seniors.
Note that I refuse to use the word ‘betters.’ There’s nothing ‘better’ about a Beltway fatcat.
(Image via Shutterstock)
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*There is something infuriating about the fact that I can spell that word now without having to look it up.