WASHINGTON, July 24 A U.S. House of
Representatives panel said on Thursday it had subpoenaed a
former Export-Import Bank official to appear at a hearing next
week on allegations of corrupt activity at the agency.
The House Oversight Committee said it would meet on Tuesday
to examine the allegations and evaluate the ethics program at
the bank, which is grappling with reports of improper behavior
even as it tries to convince lawmakers to renew its charter.
The House panel said it subpoenaed Johnny Gutierrez to
appear at the hearing. Oversight Committee spokeswoman Becca
Glover Watkins said he was a former Ex-Im Bank official.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Gutierrez
was being investigated for allegedly accepting payments from a
company that sought financing from the bank. Gutierrez's lawyer
did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg is also scheduled to be at
the hearing, the oversight panel said. An Ex-Im Bank spokesman
did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
"Congress needs to know exactly what occurred in this
corruption scheme," said Representative Darrell Issa, a
California Republican who heads the Oversight Committee.
The Ex-Im Bank provides loans, loan guarantees and credit
insurance to help private companies export goods overseas. Its
biggest beneficiaries are companies such as Boeing and
Caterpillar, but smaller exporters also receive
The bank's charter is set to expire at the end of September.
Many conservatives in Congress would like to end the bank, which
is a federal government agency. The lawmakers say its services
should be provided by the private sector.
Supporters argue that the bank's financial backing is
critical for U.S. businesses and that letting its charter expire
would cost American jobs.
Meanwhile, the bank has been grappling with accusations that
some officials took cash payments or other gifts or improperly
helped particular companies win contracts. Issa said the hearing
on Tuesday would look at what the bank is doing to change its
He said the committee subpoenaed Gutierrez after he declined
to appear voluntarily.
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; editing by Andrew Hay)