‘Boeing’s Bank’ earns its name in closed-door rulemaking with aircraft titan

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Government subsidies create winners and losers. When Congress and a federal judge ordered the Export-Import Bank to study who loses as a result of subsidized Boeing exports, Ex-Im turned to Boeing to craft the economic study, newly released emails reveal.

Ex-Im officials ran the early drafts of their economic model past Boeing officials before publishing it for public comment. Then after the public comment period ended, Ex-Im tweaked the model, at Boeing’s request, to exempt almost all Boeing subsidies from a detailed economic analysis, because such an analysis would sink the deals.

To create an appearance of distance between Boeing and the model, Ex-Im also suggested Boeing handpick a third-party to conduct some economic analysis.

These emails, first reported on by the Wall Street Journal’s Brody Mullins, show a federal agency extraordinarily cozy with the company it serves.

Here’s the background: When the U.S. government subsidizes Boeing’s exports to foreign airlines, this helps Boeing and the foreign airline. But it also hurts domestic airlines, such as Delta, who compete with Ex-Im’s foreign customers.

Congress requires Ex-Im to study the economic impact of its exports. Ex-Im initially argued that aircraft — the product it subsidizes the most — should be exempted from this requirement, but a federal judge ruled otherwise in mid-2012.

Forced to study whether its Boeing subsidies hurt anyone else, Ex-Im turned to Boeing for guidance. Mullins wrote about this special access last week, after the emails were made public as a result of a lawsuit against Ex-Im led by Delta.

Read the full story here.

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