Club for Growth Jumps on Frog Jump Congressman Backing Ex-Im Bank

Fred Hochberg, chairman and president of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, during the U.S. Export-Import Bank annual conference in Washington, D.C., on April 4, 2013.

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Fred Hochberg, chairman and president of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, during the U.S. Export-Import Bank annual conference in Washington, D.C., on April 4, 2013.

The Club for Growth today is striking back at Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher, a Tennesseean who is parting ways with the Tea Party-aligned group in its drive to shutter the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

A congressman who campaigned in 2010 on promises to pare back the size of the federal government is retreating now by leading efforts to reform, not close, a bank that provides financing for U.S. exporters, Club for Growth President Chris Cholola said in an Op-Ed in the National Review today.

“There are too many members of Congress like Stephen Fincher, who run promising to promote economic freedom and limited government, but then find themselves quickly allying with the big-government crowd once they’re in office,” Chocola  wrote. He also said voters in Fincher’s district “might like to have a congressman who matches his actions to his rhetoric.”

Fincher, a cotton farmer from the town of Frog Jump, told Bloomberg News in an interview last week that he will introduce a bill to reauthorize the bank and boost oversight of its activities when Congress returns from a recess next month. The bank’s charter expires on Sept. 30, and the Club for Growth argues the bank picks ”winners and losers” in the economy and aids too many large companies like Boeing Co.

Fincher voted against reauthorizing the bank in 2012, when a battle over its existence ended with President Barack Obama signing a measure extending its charter just one day before it was about to end.

Even as Chocola attacks Fincher, the one-time Indiana representative and business owner has been taking some heat for earlier benefiting from Ex-Im. Reports out this summer in the National Journal and Daily Beast said that a company his family sold in 2002, CTB International, once had Ex-Im financing related to exports of equipment to Venezuela and Kazakhstan. The group has defended Chocola, arguing that his position on Ex-Im reflects its goal of closing it down completely.

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