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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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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