The Department of Transportation is pushing back on reports that suggest Elaine Chao is using her position as secretary of the DOT to benefit her family’s finances.
Chao is not using her improperly using her office to help her family, and any reports suggesting otherwise are false, according to Adam Sullivan, assistant secretary of government affairs for the DOT. Chao does not have any ties with Foremost Group, a shipping company founded by her father, he noted in a letter to lawmakers Monday.
“The allegation that the Secretary has used her official position to benefit her family’s business is simply false,” Sullivan wrote in a letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Ethics committees consider the matter closed after Chao sold her shares in Vulcan Materials Company, Sullivan noted.
He added: “Of course the secretary is not involved with the management or operations of Foremost Group and has no financial stake in the company.”
The letter comes after reports on Sept. 16 alleging Chao used her role in the Trump administration to promote Foremost Group, a shipping company founded by her father. The company has raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in loan from a bank run by the Chinese government, The New York Times reported on Sept. 16.
Cummings’ committee wants memos related to Chao’s canceled October 2017 trip to China, her annual public financial disclosure reports, and whether Chao used a personal email address to communicate with her family or Foremost Group employees about official business.
Chao is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
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