Emails Show Coordination Between Mitch McConnell’s Office and Wife Elaine Chao
Political patronage is quite common in the US and Donald Trump’s White House has been no exception. Multiple early Trump supporters were paid back with important positions in the government.
Elaine Chao, former Secretary of Labor and wife to Mitch McConnell was named Secretary of Transportation in January of 2017. According to American Oversight, she has used her position to coordinate with her husband’s office.
The Department of Transportation is able to green light lucrative construction projects all over the country. The watchdog group says calls came in from McConnell’s Kentucky office days after Chao took office.
American Oversight’s founder, Tony Evers, said, “We launched this investigation because we were intrigued by the president’s selection of Elaine Chao as Transportation secretary. The media and political class identified it as a savvy move to hire the spouse of the majority leader of the Senate. We wanted to see what that relationship looked like.”
One of these emails came from Jim Adams in regards to offshore drilling equipment. Adams had previously donated $1,500 to McConnell’s 2014 reelection campaign.
Another email concerned Greg Delancy of Taylor Motors. Taylor motors works with the Defense Department to provide bus services. Chao met with a representative from the company a few months later.
Chao’s office replied to Politico, “She understands the needs of Kentucky, which is her home, and naturally has enjoyed a long friendship with many of the people who are also in contact with Senator McConnell’s office.”
American Oversight also maintains that they only looked into requests from Kentucky and not from other states. However, the relationship with the DOT and McConnell’s senate office may be something worth a closer look.