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.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.