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DOT observation dogs Elaine Chao in the ethical probe



Bye really agreed to refrain from scheduling media events involving her family without consulting DOT’s ethics office. This came after POLITICO reported on her media appearances with her father, in which she promoted his personal history, his shipping business and his book.

She also asked her staff to ask about the status of an application for a work permit for a foreign student studying at an American university who had received an award from her family’s charity foundation, the inspector general found. And the report shows that Chao additionally used DOT resources and staff for personal tasks, such as checking repairs at her father̵

7;s store and sending Christmas decorations to her family.

IG investigators filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Attorney General’s Office and its Public Integrity Section in December, but both services refused to open criminal investigations.

Bye could not be found immediately for comment through the Hudson Institute think tank, where she is a fellow.

“While I congratulate the Office of the Inspector General of the Ministry of Transport for conducting this review, I am disappointed that it was not completed and released while Secretary Chao was still in office,” said Home Transport President Peter DeFazio (D-Ore). .), One in two MPs requested the investigation. “I am even more disappointed that the Ministry of Justice has refused to continue to consider the issues that the IG has substantiated in its investigation.”

The Inspector General found no evidence to support other allegations of violation by Chao. Among them are several raised by POLITICO reports, which include the distribution of discretionary grants to the Kentucky DOT, the state represented by her husband, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The inspector general also reviewed the frequency of meetings that Chao and her senior officials held with Kentucky officials, but said that “there is no standard for judging whether the number of meetings in one’s country is so excessive as to raise ethical issues. “. IG also found no “irregularities” in the Kentucky grant award, although it has repeatedly criticized the lack of transparency in the DOT grant process.

The inspector general’s office had already opened a preliminary review of potential abuses of Chao before being asked by the commission. The Office decided that there was insufficient evidence to justify a formal investigation into the grant or Chao’s financial interest in Vulcan Materials, but went ahead with a formal investigation into “potential abuses of position”.


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