Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) are receiving quite the blow-back from Col. Rob Maness, who is eyeing Landrieu’s senate seat this November. This time, it is over the alleged corrupt actions of the Export-Import Bank, which finances exports to risky markets abroad.
To give background, today the Export-Import Bank’s Chairman Fred Hochberg plead the 5th when asked extensively by House Republicans of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on economic growth about corruption allegations.
This is the corruption allegation: Agency officials allegedly accepted gifts and kickbacks from companies interested in doing business through the bank.
Many House Republicans, along with Maness, say that the allegations of corruption and kickbacks to steer contracts to favored companies is all the more reason to not renew the bank’s reauthorization, which comes up for renewal in September.
And now, Maness is asking that Cassidy publicly denounce the Export-Import Bank and to oppose the bank’s reauthorization. Maness claims that Cassidy has been silent on the issue altogether.
“Working families in Louisiana should not have to foot the bill for this corporate, crony slush-fund that is under investigation for serious allegations of corruption,” Maness said. “Congressman Cassidy should stand with me in strong opposition to the continuation of the Export-Import Bank. Silence is another form of acceptance and the people of this state deserve to know where Bill Cassidy stands.”
Cassidy, though not publicly taking a stance on the matter yet, said that “very serious reforms are required before reauthorization.”
“The Inspector General said that the bank has not been careful in making sure that the jobs it helps to generate are created in the United States and not overseas. All of this calls into question whether the Export-Import Bank is worth the cost to taxpayers. Very serious reforms are required before considering re-authorization,” Cassidy said in a statement.
At the same time, Maness is blasting Landrieu for her support of the Export-Import Bank.
“The Export-Import Bank personifies everything that is wrong with Washington today,” Maness added. “After everything that has come to light about the corrupt nature of how this bank operates, it is unbelievable that Sen. Mary Landrieu continues to so vocally support the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. Is Sen. Landrieu really comfortable continuing to advocate for Export-Import when officials like [Johnny] Gutierrez are taking the fifth and refusing to answer questions about these allegations of corruption and kickbacks?”
Landrieu attacked Cassidy for not supporting the renewal of the bank’s contract. But, Cassidy supported the bank’s reauthorization back in 2012, along with Landrieu. Meanwhile, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) voted against the measure.