Mitch McConnell’s Wife Accused Of Misusing Government Status

Mitch McConnell's Wife Under Fire For Misusing Government Status

( – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) all but sealed his own fate when he turned against Donald Trump after his second impeachment trial. McConnell voted to acquit him of inciting the attack on the US Capitol Building on January 6. However, he tore into the former president during a Senate floor speech, accusing him of being “morally responsible” for the attack.

McConnell said Trump’s behavior leading up to the attack was a “disgraceful dereliction of duty.” Continuing, he said now that Trump was out of office, he was subject to civil and criminal prosecution. “He didn’t get away with anything yet,” he added.

As it turns out, the minority leader’s wife found herself at the center of an inspector general investigation.

Report Implicates Elaine Chao in Wrongdoing

McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, held a cabinet-level job in the Trump White House as the secretary of Transportation. Somehow, she managed to get around clear conflicts of interest, considering the fact her father runs the Foremost Group, a privately held shipping company with economic ties to banks in the People’s Republic of China.

The Department of Transportation Inspector General Mitch Behm launched an investigation into Chao’s alleged conflicts of interest in response to a request from Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR).

DeFazio listed several concerns in two letters dated October 11 and December 20, 2019. He raised concerns regarding Chao’s meeting with local Kentucky officials and actions reportedly taken on behalf of her father’s shipping company. He also addressed her financial holdings in Vulcan Materials, a company that produced stone and asphalt.

Report Released

Behm released his report on March 2, 2021. The report cleared Chao of wrongdoing regarding Vulcan Materials. However, it found that she used her office and staff for personal tasks. It also accused her of using her position to promote a shipping company owned by her father and sisters.

“A formal investigation” regarding “potential misuses of position was warranted,” Behm wrote. However, Justice Department officials declined to open a criminal review, stating that, although there “may be ethical” or “administrative issues” at play, there wasn’t any evidence supporting criminal charges. Behm’s report noted that in light of that decision, it was closing its investigation.

DeFazio showed disappointment that Behm didn’t conclude his investigation and release the report while Chao was in office. As he concluded, public servants like Chao needed to know they serve the public and not family members’ interests.

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