Story reveals Secretary Chao’s plan to bring her family to meet with Chinese officials on official DOT trip
WASHINGTON — Restore Public Trust released the following statement today after the New York Times published an article detangling the shady web of connections linking Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and her family business, the Foremost Group, to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump administration policies.
“Secretary Chao has been caught using her position for her family’s profit,” said Lizzy Price, spokesperson for Restore Public Trust. “Chao has used her position to help her family gain wealth, and in turn, they have thanked her by gifting millions in donations and personal gifts to her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Congress must investigate Chao’s misdeeds of putting personal profit over the American taxpayers she is meant to serve.”
In case you missed it, here are ten bombshells revealed today from the New York Times:
- Chao attempted to bring family members with her to meet with Chinese officials during an official government visit in October 2017.
- Chao tried to hide that she was bringing family members with her by abruptly canceling the trip after ethics inquiries and questions from the news media.
- Chao’s family shipping company flies Liberian–not American–flagged ships.
- Chao never disclosed honorary positions or degrees from China in a Senate questionnaire despite being required to do so, which her spokesperson admitted was an “oversight.”
- In August 2017, Chao attended a celebration of Foremost signing a deal with a Japanese company that has mass transit projects in the United States, which are overseen by her own department.
- Chao broke protocol by flying on a Chinese air carrier in April 2018 when a cheaper, direct American flight was available.
- Over two years into the job, Secretary Chao has yet to issue a strategic plan for America’s shrinking fleet of ships.
- Chao’s family was invested in a Chinese military supplier before Tiananmen Square protests.
- Chao’s family has donated over one million dollars to Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party of Kentucky, and an affiliated super PAC that prioritized McConnell’s re-election.
- Senator McConnell has also personally profited off of his wife’s family, accepting gifts from his father in law that made him one of the richest members of the Senate.
Today’s article highlights the latest in a series of questionable and problematic behavior Chao has engaged in as the head of the Transportation Department:
- For over a year she skirted her own ethics pledge, failing to divest her stake in construction company, Vulcan, that lobbies her department regularly. Following the promises Chao and others made for passage of an infrastructure deal, the company’s stocks have risen by almost 13%, bringing Chao’s total value in stocks to almost $400,000.
- The culture of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under her leadership has led to failures at aviation giant Boeing.
- Chao quietly appointed the CEO of a commercial drone developer to lead the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Drone Advisory Committee, ignoring clear conflicts of interest.
- A report from Restore Public Trust shows USDOT increased spending in Kentucky by more than $11 million under Chao — more than 400-percent increase from the final year of the Obama Administration.
- Chao claimed nearly 300 hours of private time on her official schedule, the equivalent of seven weeks’ vacation, during her first 14 months as Transportation Secretary.