- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit group with ties to the billionaire philanthropists Charles and David Koch, applauded four potential GOP presidential contenders on Tuesday for supporting the end of the Export-Import Bank.

“Former Governor Jeb Bush, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Rand Paul and Senator Marco Rubio’s opposition to reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank is a clear sign that opposition to the bank extends from the grassroots all the way to some of the most prominent figures in national politics,” Freedom Partners President Marc Short said in a statement. 

Some in Congress are pushing for a multi-year reauthorization of the bank, which provides loans and guarantees in an effort to boost U.S. exports. But many conservatives are opposed, likening it to corporate welfare that picks winners and losers.

“Freedom Partners applauds their principled stance against cronyism and corporate welfare,” Mr. Short said. “This is exactly the kind of leadership our country needs. We urge Congress to follow their lead and simply allow Ex-Im to expire.”

The statement from the group comes after Mr. Bush, Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio all recently voiced their opposition to the bank at a retreat in Florida held by the Club for Growth, an influential anti-tax advocacy group.

Other potential presidential contenders — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — also said at the gathering that they, too, would eliminate the bank.

Democrats have consistently railed against the political influence of the Koch brothers’ network, which has a fundraising goal of nearly $900 million for the 2016 elections, though some officials questioned the party’s focus on the Kochs during the 2014 midterms at the Democratic National Committee’s annual meeting last month.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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