THE BLOG

Putin and the Export-Import Bank of the United States

04/08/2014 01:49 pm ET | Updated Jun 08, 2014
  • Mike Lux Co-Founder, Democracy Partners

Today, Representative Maxine Waters will host a panel discussion on the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. This provides an opportunity to address some of the most pressing concerns about the Ex-Im Bank that are rarely covered by the media and ignored by most elected officials.

I have been writing for a while about the issues at the Ex-Im Bank, which unfairly subsidizes foreign corporations, often ones with terrible business practices (Link, Link, Link, Link). And now, it has come to light that the Ex-Im was even considering giving a loan to a Russian natural-gas export project. According to a recent Bloomberg story, "the bank's ties to Russia are fueling criticism from opponents who say the lender's actions distort markets by favoring certain companies."

It is stunning that a United States government entity would financially support Vladimir Putin's regime thereby giving it more leverage to use energy in order to hold other countries hostage to its policies. The Obama administration needs to get their entire administration rowing in the same direction in regards to Russia.

It's not just the situation in Crimea and Ukraine that troubles me about Russia, either. They have been bullies and worse in many different ways for a long time. Remember the passage of and global uproar around Russia's anti-gay law? The Russian law, passed last year, bans the advocacy of homosexuality and united much of the world in its condemnation. Why would America support a regime whose values not only run counter to ours, but which blatantly opposes the most basic human rights?

As our elected officials discuss the Ex-Im Bank, it is essential that they not brush these critical humanitarian issues under the rug. The American public deserves to know where our taxpayer money is going. The hearing by Waters is a really good thing.

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