Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s wife, Elaine Chao who was serving as Secretary of Transportation under Trump’s administration was under investigation from Department of Transportation’s own Inspector General for misusing her office to benefit her family and its business interests in China.
In a letter to House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on March 2nd, the DOT’s Deputy Inspector General Mitch Behm said that they concluded that “that a formal investigation into potential misuses of position was warranted.”
“In accordance with OIG’s investigative process and Federal investigation standards, the Office of Investigations referred its findings to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia on December 16, 2020, and the U.S. Department of Justice Public Integrity Section on December 17, 2020, both of which declined prosecution,” said Deputy IG Behn in his letter.
The New York Times also published a report on Tuesday highlighting portions from the DOT investigation report:
- The investigators also found that she repeatedly asked agency staff members to help do chores for her father, including editing her father’s Wikipedia page, promoting his Chinese-language biography, and directing two staff members from the transportation secretary’s office to send a copy of her father’s book “to a well-known C.E.O. of a major U.S. corporation” to ask if he would write a foreword for the book.
- In one instance, staff members for Ms. Chao’s office were assigned in 2017 to check with the Department of Homeland Security on the status of a work permit application for a foreign student studying in the United States who had received a scholarship from a Chao family foundation, the report said. The student, according to the report, had interviewed Ms. Chao’s father, James Chao, at the New York headquarters of the family’s shipping company in order to share Mr. Chao’s experience “with Chinese millennials.”
Mitch McConnell’s wife resigned from her post on January 7th, a day after the attack on Capitol, but New York Times report that an aide to Ms. Chao said “her resignation was unrelated to the inspector general’s investigation.”
Read full DOT IG report below: