Obama admin awards Chamber of Commerce for its 2012 lobbying

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

OMNI-SHOREHAM HOTEL, WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Obama administration has enjoyed using the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a foil over the past four years. Obama raised money and campaigned for congressional Democrats in 2010 by basically charging the Chamber with funneling Communist Chinese money into GOP campaign coffers.

President Obama has also railed against corporate lobbying — particularly by the Chamber. But today, Obama’s administration publicly rewarded the nation’s largest lobbying organization for its lobbying for subsidies.

Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg — whom Obama has nominated for a second term atop the export-subsidy agency — gave the annual “Chairman’s Award” to Chamber President Tom Donahue at Ex-Im’s annual conference, which began today in Washington, D.C. Hochberg was rewarding the Chamber for its lobbying — specifically, its lobbying effort during last year’s reauthorization of Ex-Im.

“Tom and his team was one of the key voices in our reauthorization last year,” Hochberg said, declaring Donahue “an easy choice,” for the award.

Donahue and the Chamber were champions for reauthorizing the agency, which gives taxpayer-backed loans and loan guarantees to foreign buyers who buy U.S. goods — mostly Boeing jets. Last year, many conservatives fought to kill or curb Ex-Im. Donahue, at the conference, thanked his colleagues, especially his lobbyists, who put in “an extraordinary effort for an extraordinary benefit.” To save Ex-Im, Donahue said, “we pushed hard.”

Republican Ex-Im boardmember Larry Walther also acknowledged Donahue from the podium at the Ex-Im Conference lunch: “We really appreciate what happened last year.”

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