OPIC is the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a bureau of the US Treasury Department, which provides capital and risk insurance to companies who need help from the taxpayer to move their operations to foreign countries and avoid paying US taxes and sidestep US labor and environmental laws.
•OPIC and Ex-Im Bank Funding. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation charges private companies a fee to insure their investments abroad, often in places where the risk of failure is relatively high. The agency returns a nominal profit to the U.S. Treasury each year but still requires an annual appropriation of $32 million for administrative costs. The agency currently backs about $20 billion in projects overseas, exposing U.S. taxpayers to huge payments should those investments go bad. OPIC distorts the international flow of capital by steering investment dollars to projects and countries that a truly free, private capital market would deem too risky. It also discourages reform in less-developed countries by shielding policymakers from the full effects of their uneconomic policies.28 The Export-Import Bank provides subsidized incentives for U.S. exporters to sell in markets where the risk of nonpayment would otherwise be too high. Export subsidies do not significantly expand total U.S. exports but instead shift exports toward the small percentage of U.S. companies that qualify for the subsidies. OPIC and the Ex-Im Bank distort rather than promote trade and investment.
OPIC has still not received Congressional reauthorization since its past authorization expired on April 1. This means that the agency has no formal authority to exist, much less to hold board meetings and approve projects with legally binding contracts. This situation is unprecedented, and may last until next year, so now is a very good time to go after them if you are so inclined. The mainstream media has not done so.
Here’s a link to report language from the 2003 re-authroization that indicates that OPIC was reauthorized until September 30, 2007
(2) TERMINATION OF AUTHORITY- The authority of subsections (a), (b), and (c) of section 234 shall continue until 5November 1, 20006 September 30, 2007.
Here is a link showing the reauthorization bills that have been debated since, but nothing has passed except some temporary extensions, which have all expired:
The situation is that Senator Coburn put a hold on the currently debated reauthorization bill in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee because he objects to the climate change-related provisions. There was then an attempt to extend reauthorization through the Appropriations Committee but Coburn blocked that, also. As a result, OPIC is operating without any Congressional authorization.
Special thanks to Doug Norlen for his alert and commentary.