Hundreds of businesses representing everything from the fashion industry to petroleum companies are urging Congress to extend the Export-Import Bank's charter. In a letter addressed to all House lawmakers, the businesses say they'll lose out to competitors if the charter is not extended, costing the U.S. economy jobs just more than a month before the midterm elections. The American Petroleum Institute, American Apparel & Footwear Association and the National Small Business Association are just some of the hundreds of groups who signed the letter, first obtained by The Hill. The letter says that if Ex-Im isn't reauthorized, the U.S. would lose out to international competitors.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank has suspended or removed four officials in recent months amid investigations into allegations of gifts and kickbacks, as well as attempts to steer federal contracts to favored companies, several people familiar with the matter said. One employee, Johnny Gutierrez, an official in the short-term trade finance division, allegedly accepted cash payments in exchange for trying to help a Florida company obtain U.S. government financing to export construction equipment to Latin America, according to a person familiar with the inquiry. Mr. Gutierrez was escorted from the Ex-Im Bank building in April, said two people familiar with the matter.