Pro-Ex-Im Super PAC Goes Broke

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Peter Fricke Contributor
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A political action committee that advocates on behalf of the Export-Import Bank told federal officials this week that it has no cash on hand and has not received any donations.

Dave Levinthal, a reporter at the Center for Public Integrity, first tweeted the news along with a link to the group’s financial disclosure report, which reveals that it was unable to capitalize on (or influence) the debate over re-authorizing Ex-Im.

The founder and chairman of Americans for the Ex-Im Bank is Greg Sandler, who is described on the group’s website as “the publisher of Export USA and past chairman of the National District Export Council Inc.,” both of which are private export promotion organizations with ties to the Commerce Department.

Sandler filed paperwork creating the group in September, according to the Wall Street Journal, at a time when many lawmakers were expressing opposition to Ex-Im and just weeks before the bank’s charter was due to expire on September 30. (RELATED: Conservatives Split on Export-Import Bank)

“We took this political step because the real question here is why we are considering closing a program that support U.S. companies and jobs and that has returned $2 billion to U.S. taxpayers,” Sandler explained.

At that point, Ex-Im had been re-authorized by Congress 16 times since 1945, usually with strong bipartisan support and for an average length of about five years.

Prior to the deadline, however, a number of prominent Republican legislators, including newly elected House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, voiced concerns that the bank is just another form of crony capitalism. (RELATED: Is the Export-Import Bank Crony Capitalism?)

Ultimately, a short-term extension was included in a continuing resolution funding the federal government, but opponents of the bank remain optimistic that they can defeat re-authorization efforts when that extension expires in June.

“Mr. Sandler said the temporary renewal will not appease the super PAC,” the WSJ reported, “and he expects its work will continue into 2015 and perhaps beyond.”

At the time, Sandler said he was “hopeful the super PAC will be able to raise as much as $1 million in the weeks running up to the November elections.”

Dan Holler, a spokesman for Heritage Action, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that he is not surprised the group failed to realize its fundraising goals, because “hardworking folks don’t donate to protect corporate welfare, and most of the big companies that are spending money to save Ex-Im are more than happy to highlight their [own] efforts.”

As an example, Holler pointed to Boeing, which receives a significant majority of Ex-Im subsidies. Rather than joining forces with Americans for the Ex-Im Bank, Boeing recently began airing a commercial on the Fox News channel designed to persuade conservatives of the merits of Ex-Im. (RELATED: Boeing, Delta Square Off on Export-Import Bank)

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