WASHINGTON — A Wall Street Journal report earlier this week found that Secretary Elaine Chao skirted her own ethics pledge by failing to divest her stake in a construction company that lobbies her department. In response, Chao was slammed in her hometown paper, the Louisville Courier Journal, as “just another number in an ethically challenged Trump administration.” The column describes the administration as full of high-ranking officials “enmeshed in scandals for self-dealing and taking advantage of taxpayers.”
“The Trump administration is swampier than ever,” said Lizzy Price, spokesperson for Restore Public Trust. “Secretary Chao fits right in with Trump’s Cabinet, who have repeatedly profited off of their public positions, and she’s not even trying to hide it anymore. No wonder Americans’ trust in the government is at a historic low – Trump has filled it with people like Chao, who eschew ethics rules for their own financial gain.”
See below for excerpts and here for the full column.
By Joseph Gerth, Louisville Courier Journal
… But the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by the same corporation that owns Fox News, reported that based on Chao’s government ethics filings and other documents, Chao accepted the deferred payment in stocks and, the most troubling part, continued to hold that Vulcan stock.
(Interestingly, in 2018 News Corp., which owns the Wall Street Journal, paid Chao $507,426 in fees and cash for deferred stock payments for her service on that company’s board of directors.)
According to the newspaper, that Vulcan stock has grown in value by about $40,000 in the last year since she was awarded the stock. Her Vulcan holdings are now worth about $400,000, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Now, she’s made a $40,000 windfall, making her just another number in an ethically challenged Trump administration that has seen cabinet secretary after high-ranking official enmeshed in scandals for self-dealing and taking advantage of taxpayers.
Just toss her name on top of the heap of current and former Trump administration officials who have soiled their names.
Scott Pruitt. Wilbur Ross. Ryan Zinke. Tom Price. Michael Flynn. Mike Mulvaney. Betsy DeVos. Steven Mnuchin. Elaine Chao.
How much is enough?