Mitch McConnell’s wife, Department of Transportation secretary Elaine Chao, has been busted for setting up a swift channel for grant applications that lean in favor of her husband’s ideology and agenda, per new reporting today from Politico.
The goal of her operation? To help streamline Mitch McConnell-favored projects, policies and proposals. Makes sense he’d have his wife handle his home state interests, since the majority of Kentuckians feel that he is out-of-touch with his state.
The special liaison, as it’s being referred, is established in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky and is being headed by Todd Inman, whom Chao personally asked to serve for their agenda.
The liaison began sometime in 2017, when Inman and Chao continued to meet with local officials from Owensboro, KY to discuss McConnell’s ‘To-Do List.’ On that list were items such as upgrading road connections to commercial riverports and a highway improvement project.
Todd Inman, Chao’s wingman, also reached out to the chief executive of Daviess County, Al Mattingly. In a statement, Mattingly said:
‘Todd probably smoothed the way, I mean, you know, used his influence. Everybody says that projects stand on their own merit, right? So if I’ve got 10 projects, and they’re all equal, where do you go to break the tie?
Speaking with regard to Chao and Inman, he said:
‘Well, let’s put it this way: I only have her ear an hour when I go to visit her once a year.
‘With a local guy, he has her ear 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You tell me.’
A typical case of a person’s worth when it is based on what they do and accomplish for another person. In this case, it is pushing McConnell’s agenda.
In addition, this situation raises ethical concerns with McConnell’s wife, and it is not the first time.
There is something unsettling about a powerful Cabinet secretary (Chao) working to push and move forward a Senate leader’s agenda.
Brookings Institute scholar, John Hudak, told Politico:
‘Where a Cabinet secretary is doing things that are going to help her husband get reelected, that starts to rise to the level of feeling more like corruption to the average American. … I do think there are people who will see that as sort of ‘swamp behavior.’
As expected, the DOT (Department of Transportation) denies the collaboration between McConnell’s wife and Kentucky policies. When asked to comment, they stated “no state receives special treatment from DOT.” A spokesperson added, “The evaluation process, which is well known, originates with dedicated career staff thoroughly reviewing applications before senior review teams are involved. This evaluation takes thousands of hours across our discretionary grant programs. Similarly, a team of career staff handles cost-benefit and project readiness review. Discretionary grant programs are competitive and based on merit and how well the projects align with selection criteria.”
McConnell’s office, in a response, said that the senator regularly advocates for Kentuckians with “Members of the Cabinet and agencies of the federal government.”
Featured image via YouTube screenshot.