Congress receives report that Trump DOT Secretary abused her position for profit

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Lawmakers receive a 44-page report from the Department of Transportation’s inspector general that Elaine Chao, wife of Mitch McConnell, used her position to financially benefit her family and herself.

The report includes more than a dozen instances of Chao using the department to pay for trips and other expenditures that only benefitted her family and their businesses, as well as other abuses of power.

Investigators also learned that Chao asked staffers to help promote a book written by her father, edit his Wikipedia page, and check on the status of a work permit application for a foreign student who won a scholarship from Chao’s family foundation.

The Week (Yahoo! link)

As transportation secretary, Chao was the top official overseeing the American shipping industry. Her family owns Foremost Group, a New York-based shipping company. In another instance of profiting from her position, Chao used the DOT to arrange an interview at Foremost with a Chinese-language television station. The purpose of the interview was to promote the business and her father, who–according to DOT documents–has been nicknamed “Chinese Ship King.”

The report was initially sent to the Justice Department for a possible criminal investigation in December, but Trump’s DOJ opted not to take up the case. The inspector general ended the investigation since Trump’s DOJ would not seek charges.

External Sources

The Week / Yahoo (Archived)

The New York Times (Archived)

Photo: Donna Burton, USCBP

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