Elaine Chao Is Filling Up the Swamp

Elaine Chao and friends.Shealah Craighead via ZUMA

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.

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.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate