In NEW Ad Campaign, Transportation Committee Members Urged to Investigate Sec. Elaine Chao

Restore Public Trust Launches Ad to Hold Secretary Chao Accountable for Personal Corruption Allegations At DOT

WASHINGTON — U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is under intense scrutiny for allegations that she used taxpayer dollars to benefit her husband Sen. Mitch McConnell’s political career, at the expense of other states’ funding for important infrastructure projects. Restore Public Trust, a government accountability group working to expose corruption and malfeasance at the highest levels of government, today released a six-figure ad buy in three districts, urging the members to investigate Sec. Chao immediately. 

Watch the Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) ad here.

Watch the Rep. Rep. Scott Perry (PA-10) ad here.

Watch the Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13) ad here.

“As revelations showed that Secretary Chao misdirected taxpayer dollars to benefit her husband’s political career, these members have failed to hold Secretary Chao accountable,” said Lizzy Price, Director of Restore Public Trust. “Members of the House Transportation Committee have clear oversight responsibility of how transportation dollars are spent. Even more importantly, these Congressmen have a vested interest in the transportation projects in their own districts, while the state of Kentucky is getting special treatment from Secretary Chao.

“Secretary Chao isn’t draining the swamp – she’s making it deeper – and it’s time for Congress to act. It is up to our elected representatives to hold our government officials to the highest standards of integrity and expel those who fail to represent the public interest. Secretary Chao has used her taxpayer-funded position to advance her husband’s career. It’s time that members take a hard line against political corruption and investigate the allegations against Secretary Chao.”

The 30-second ad-spots launched in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Springfield and will run through August 4. 


Transcript of Ad: 

NARRATOR: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao isn’t draining the swamp. She’s making it deeper. Chao created a “special path” for her husband Mitch McConnell’s favored projects… turning a small Kentucky town into their own personal swamp.

Chao spent half a billion dollars of your taxpayer money on projects benefiting McConnell. Even Bush’s former ethics lawyer said Chao could’ve broken the law. 

And Brian Fitzpatrick/Scott Perry/Rodney Davis failed to stop her. Congressman Fitzpatrick/Perry/Davis, investigate Chao now.


Since taking office in January 2017, Sec. Chao has over seven weeks worth of unaccounted-for private time on her official schedule. She has used her position to boost her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s political career including appointing a special Kentucky liaison in her office dedicated to serving his own political interests. She may even be in violation of the Hatch Act for helping him funnel money into the town of Paducah. But McConnell isn’t the only family member benefitting from her connections, she is also accused of promoting her family business, the Foremost Group, overseas. Despite her commitment to do so, she also failed to divest in a company, which she previously served as a board member, that directly lobbies the Transportation Department. Now she is under scrutiny for her financial conflicts of interest

Restore Public Trust called upon the Department of Transportation to open an investigation into Chao for having likely violated financial conflict-of-interest restrictions under federal law. Restore Public Trust also filed a lawsuit in June for the documents related to the Foremost Group that the department has refused to provide since they were originally requested in December. 

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