Elaine Chao Is Filling Up the Swamp

Elaine Chao and friends.Shealah Craighead via ZUMA

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At the Department of Transportation, projects are doled out based on formulas and metrics that treat every state equally. But it turns out that some states are more equal than others. You see, the secretary of transportation, Elaine Chao, is married to Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is running for reelection next year in Kentucky. So she asked her chief of staff to pay special attention to the state’s needs and act as liaison:

Chao’s aide Todd Inman, who stated in an email to McConnell’s Senate office that Chao had personally asked him to serve as an intermediary, helped advise the senator and local Kentucky officials on grants with special significance for McConnell….He also discussed the project by phone with Al Mattingly, the chief executive of Daviess County, which includes Owensboro, who suggested Inman was instrumental in the process.

….“Todd probably smoothed the way, I mean, you know, used his influence,” Mattingly said in a Politico interview….“Well, let’s put it this way: I only have her ear an hour when I go to visit her once a year,” he added of Chao and Inman, a longtime Bluegrass State operative who had worked as McConnell’s advance man. “With a local guy, he has her ear 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You tell me.

“You tell me” indeed. That’s some mighty good swamp draining going on in the Trump cabinet.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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