Monday, October 27, 2008

Bonilla threatened government bank on behalf of swindler

In the Better Late Than Never category comes this Express-News story over the weekend about former Republican Congressman Henry Bonilla doing favors for some guy who was swindling a government-sponsored bank out of millions of dollars.

A San Antonio businessman, while defrauding a government bank of millions of dollars, convinced a member of Congress to help put pressure on the bank so it would speed up processing loans to his clients, a San Antonio Express-News investigation has found.

Then-Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio, intervened on behalf of Andrew Maxwell Parker, president of San Antonio Trade Group, in 2005 as the Export-Import Bank in Washington was growing suspicious of Parker's business.

Greater scrutiny had slowed the bank's backing of his clients' loans, so Parker wasn't making money.

Bonilla's letters to the Export-Import Bank, written at the behest of Parker, were followed by e-mails from one of Bonilla's staffers, Patrick L. Anderson. He left Bonilla's staff in November 2005, and by the next month Parker had paid him $20,000 to lobby for SATG.

The Export-Import Bank discovered many of his clients were defaulting on loans it had backed, forcing the taxpayer-funded agency to make good on them.

Officials also found Parker had manipulated information in the loan paperwork before submitting it. So the bank stopped or delayed considering applications involving his firm.

So the Ex-Im Bank was suspicious of this guy and was trying to back off on making loans to his clients who were defaulting on their loans and leaving the taxpayers to pick up the tab.

So what did Congressman Henry Bonilla do after jumping into the fray?

Parker complained to lawmakers, prompting Bonilla to propose a $7 million cut to the bank's budget in June 2005.

Unbelievable! The bank is trying its best to be a good steward with the taxpayers’ money, and Henry Bonilla, like some Mafia enforcer, is punishing them for it by trying to slash $7 million out of their budget.

And Bonilla was ENDORSED by the Express-News Editorial Board over Ciro Rodriguez while all this was going on.

Bonilla’s response to all of this? He doesn’t recall. Can’t remember a thing. Probably some low-level flunkies on his staff are to blame. Pass the buck. Whatever.

What a great public servant you were, Henry Bonilla! Thank you so much E-N Editorial Board for trying to foist this guy on us again and again.

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