While Donald Trump understandably receives the lion’s share of criticism for the current putrified state of the Republican Party, he has never operated inside a vacuum. The GOP is a fundamentally corrupt organization, a gangsterish clique of special interests and oligarchs working to line the pockets of the rich at the expense of average Americans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is one of the most blatantly crooked conservatives in our government and his continued alliance with Trump is directly responsible for some of this administration’s worst abuses. Now, it turns out that McConnell’s disdain for the law might be something shares by his wife Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
The Democratically-controlled House Oversight and Reform Committee has officially opened an investigation into Chao with the aim of discerning whether or not she is exploiting her Cabinet position to enrich herself and her family. The Hill reports that the new probe is a result of several allegations that Chao has been using her powerful position to aid her father’s shipping company Foremost Group. She is also accused of failing to immediately divest from stock she owned in Vulcan Materials Company, a construction firm.
Foremost Group has been the recipient of massive loans from the Chinese government. Allegedly, Chao has attended public functions with her father and planned to fly to China to meet with Chinese government officials with members of her family present. The trip was scrapped after the State Department brought up the obvious ethical concerns involved. The concern is that she has been leveraging her role as Transportation Secretary to make business with her father’s company even more attractive to the authoritarian Chinese government. Chao has the power to aid Chinese interests and China has the power to further assist Foremost Group.
“The Committee is examining your misstatements of fact, your actions that may have benefitted the company in which you continued to hold shares, and your compliance with ethics and financial disclosure requirements,” Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) wrote in a letter to Chao.
The Democrats have requested a trove of documents that they hope will shed light on the true nature of Chao’s conduct. In particular, they’re interested in any internal government memos pertaining to Foremost Group and Vulcan Materials Company as well as details about the suspicious, since-canceled planned trip to China.
Cummings and Krishnamoorthi were blunt in their letter and wrote that “Federal regulations prohibit federal employees from using their public offices for ‘the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.'” Hopefully, the committee gets to the bottom of this story quickly. If Chao is as corrupt as some fear there is absolutely no place for her in the federal government and the American people must demand her immediate resignation.