Hillary’s Reception In Atlanta Tainted By Ex-Im Support

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Peter Fricke Contributor
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Just one week after announcing her support for the Export-Import Bank, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attended a fundraiser Thursday in Atlanta, home of vocal Ex-Im opponent Delta Airlines.

Clinton’s decision to make a closed-door fundraiser at the estate of Georgetown Capital founding partner A.J. Johnson the sole destination of her first campaign stop in Georgia drew criticism on multiple fronts, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Georgia GOP chairman John Padgett drew first blood with a statement blasting Hillary for ignoring the opportunity to meet ordinary citizens. (RELATED: Small Business Becomes Pawn in Ex-Im’s Fate)

“Instead of talking this opportunity to meet with Georgia voters, listen to their concerns, and set the record straight about her tenure in public office,” Padgett observed. “Clinton continues to choose cash-flush donors instead of hard working Georgians.”

The free-market advocacy group Freedom Partners also chimed in, issuing a press release suggesting that the lack of public events on Clinton’s agenda might stem from an unwillingness to address her recently declared support for Ex-Im in the hometown of Delta, which has been among the bank’s foremost opponents.

Ex-Im is a New Deal-era government agency that provides financing assistance to American exporters. Supporters say it boosts job growth by helping exporters sell goods overseas, but Delta has long maintained that Ex-Im subsidies have the opposite effect on many domestic companies by allowing foreign competitors to purchase capital goods like airplanes at below-market prices.

According to the press release, Delta CEO Richard Anderson estimates that, “the Ex-Im Bank has killed approximately 7,500 airline jobs in the United States by subsidizing foreign corporations and stacking the deck against American companies.” (RELATED: Boeing, Delta Square Off on Export-Import Bank)

“Will Mrs. Clinton stand up for the Ex-Im Bank in Atlanta?” the group asks. “If she does, how will she explain her support for a corporate welfare program that subsidizes Delta’s foreign competition and costs U.S. airline jobs?”

Hillary announced her support for the embattled bank—which will lose the ability to make new loans if Congress does not reauthorize its charter by June 30—at a campaign stop in New Hampshire last Friday, which some see as an ironic choice given that just 25 New Hampshire businesses have received Ex-Im financing since 2007.

On the other hand, Clinton’s visit to Atlanta came just one day after a campaign event in South Carolina, where Ex-Im poster child Boeing employs about 8,000 people. Boeing is by far the biggest beneficiary of Ex-Im financing, receiving 40 percent of the bank’s total authorizations in 2014, and support for the bank is often greater in areas where the company has a strong presence. (RELATED: Aircraft Manufacturers Say Falling Sales Show Need for Ex-Im)

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, for instance, is the only current or prospective GOP presidential candidate to publicly support Ex-Im.

Last week, he even threatened to torpedo efforts to secure passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement unless he received assurance that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would allow a floor vote on reauthorizing the bank. (RELATED: Sens. Graham, Cantwell Threaten to Torpedo TPA Over Ex-Im)

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