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Export-Import crock: Bill Richardson's conflict

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Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Cronyism made plain by a clear conflict of interest taints U.S. Export-Import Bank loans totaling $33.6 million to Spanish “green” energy company Abengoa. And Bill Richardson, a former U.S. Energy secretary (among other posts), is at the center of what's so manifestly wrong with this deal.

The bank provides taxpayer-backed credit lines for foreign companies to buy U.S. products. Abengoa is to use its loans to buy American-made items for solar-energy projects in Spain and South Africa.

It's awfully convenient for both lender and borrower that, as The Washington Free Beacon reports, Mr. Richardson sits on both an Export-Import Bank policy advisory board and the Abengoa International Advisory Board. And these loans to Abengoa follow others last December that were worth $152.2 million.

The bank denies that Richardson was involved in those prior loans. And it's silent on his role in these latest ones. But the conflict inherent in his dual advisory roles is obvious.

Cronyism allegations are nothing new for Richardson, who faced plenty as New Mexico's governor, or for the bank. Opposing the bank's reauthorization last year, congressional conservatives were joined by the Club for Growth, which calls the Export-Import Bank “just a slush fund for corporate welfare” and a “taxpayer-backed monstrosity” that benefits “the well-connected and powerful.”

Cronyism, alas, is business as usual under the Obama administration.

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