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Report Finds Conflicts of Interest in Elaine Chao's Time as Transportation Secretary

The U.S. Department of Justice in the final weeks of the Trump administration rejected an attempt to broaden the investigation into former Secretary Elaine Chao's potential ethics violations.
March 8, 2021, 6am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Elaine Chao
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Eric Lipton and Michael Forsythe report bombshell news about the previous administration's leadership in the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"While serving as transportation secretary during the Trump administration, Elaine Chao repeatedly used her office staff to help family members who run a shipping business with extensive ties to China, a report released Wednesday by the Transportation Department’s inspector general concluded."

"The investigators did not make a formal finding that Ms. Chao violated ethics rules. But they detailed more than a dozen instances where her office took steps to handle matters related to her father, who built up a New York-based shipping company after immigrating to the United States from Taiwan in the late 1950s, and to her sister, who runs the company now."

The report by the inspector general was rejected by officials at the U.S. Department of Justice.

This isn't the first news to break about former Secretary Chao's entangled interests. The New York Times revealed numerous potential ethics violations in an investigation that culminated in June 2019. The New York Times investigation is credited by Lipton and Forsythe for leading to the inspector general's investigation. Other news reporting from June 2019 revealed questionable data about the amount of money and attention afforded Kentucky during Chao's tenure as transportation secretary. Chao is married to Mitch McConnell, U.S. senator for the state, former senate majority leader, and current senate minority leader.

Former Secretary Chao was one of the members of the Trump administration to resign after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, though the move was criticized as am empty gesture.

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Published on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 in The New York Times
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