Elaine Chao’s Family Business Caught Funneling Taxpayer Cash


With more than two trillion dollars to distribute, there was no way that the CARES Act, the stimulus package meant to help U.S. working adults and rescue small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis wouldn’t hit some speed bumps or have its share of grifters trying to get an unfair piece of the pie. Because it’s the Trump administration’s job to distribute those funds, though, the grifters are members of Trump’s inner circle and they received billions.

When the administration released a list of loan recipients, Trump’s and Kushner’s family businesses were shown to have taken a chunk of the stimulus money themselves, but another notable name also appeared on the list. The Foremost Group, a shipping company owned by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also benefitted from the loan package.

According to Newsweek:

‘Chao’s parents launched Foremost Group in New York in 1964. The company is currently run by her father and sister, according to the company’s website. Its application for a Paycheck Protection Program loan was approved on April 15, the SBA’s data shows. While the exact loan amount was not included in the report, the SBA said a loan between $350,000 and $1 million was approved, enabling the company to save 20 jobs.’

Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, who was responsible for managing and distributing the funds, tried to gloss over the startling revelations on that list, saying that a proportionate number of businesses in poorer communities received loans. What that doesn’t answer, however, is why so many companies that are already highly profitable, including those connected to Washington insiders, would have received any of those funds. In a statement released along with the list, Mnuchin said:

‘The PPP is providing much-needed relief to millions of American small businesses, supporting more than 51 million jobs and over 80 percent of all small business employees, who are the drivers of economic growth in our country. We are particularly pleased that 27% of the program’s reach in low and moderate income communities which is in proportion to percentage of population in these areas.’

The Foremost Group was shown to have been approved for the second highest level of loans, those between $350,000 and one million dollars. Chao has also come under fire recently for using her position in Trump’s cabinet to benefit her family’s company directly.

‘The SBA said it approved about 4.9 million loans through the PPP program. The loan amount approved for Foremost Group is part of the second group of loans—those valued at $150,000 and above—that account for nearly 75 percent of PPP loan dollars allocated by the SBA. The SBA’s news release said some loans reached values as high as $10 million.’

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