Ex-Im Officials Blow Through Millions of Tax Dollars on First-Class Luxury Travel

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WashingtonExaminer reports: 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.

“Conservatives in Congress have long sought to defund Ex-Im as a corporate welfare program, while President Obama has defended it as a job creator.”

Ex-Im is a federal agency that provides taxpayer subsidies to U.S. exporters such as Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar.

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“In fiscal 2012, Ex-Im budgeted $1.7 million for travel expenses but spent $2.7 million. In fiscal 2013, Ex-Im budgeted $1.2 million but spent $2.2 million. And in this fiscal year, Ex-Im budgeted $1.3 million but expects its end-of-year spending to total $2.3 million.”

Last month, the Hill reported that “officials with the Export-Import Bank have exceeded their travel budget over the last three years by $3 million, according to disclosures filed with the House Financial Services Committee.

[Also see Timothy P. Carney’s The Export-Import Bank and the German model]

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“A NASA employee flew from Frankfurt to Cologne, Germany, for $6,851, a flight that cost almost 52 times more than the $133 coach fare.”

But documents newly obtained by the Washington Examiner show that it was not just the frequency of the travel that caused Ex-Im officials to exceed their budget, but the way they chose to travel.

No justification was provided for choosing first-class travel for three domestic flights. Documents for two domestic first-class flights cited “unavailability of coach class fares or space,” while two others cited “other reasons in the best interest of the bank.”

Among other flights, Ex-Im representatives flew first class to China “to negotiate legal documents,” to Nigeria … (read more)

WashingtonExaminer.com



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