Elaine Chao

DOT official denies allegations that Chao helped her family’s company
Oversight committee questioned whether Transportation secretary's TV appearances with family in China were improper

Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao shakes hands with Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee on Sept. 19. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Allegations that Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao used her office to help the shipping company owned by her father and sister are “simply false,” a Transportation Department official told the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Monday.

Adam Sullivan, the departments’s assistant secretary of governmental affairs, said in a letter to Chairman Elijah E. Cummings that Chao is not involved with the management or operations of her family’s shipping company, Foremost Group, and does not have a financial stake in the company.

Committee launches probe of Chao’s ties to family’s business
Seeks information about media reports that Chao appeared alongside her father in Chinese media interviews

A House committee seeks information from Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao about ties to her family's company by the end of September. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Monday said the committee was launching an investigation into whether Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao used her office to help the shipping company owned by her father and sisters.

In a letter to Chao, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Maryland, requested information and documents about media reports that Chao had appeared alongside her father in at least a dozen Chinese media interviews, sometimes behind the official seal of the Department of Transportation, in order to benefit Foremost Group, the family shipping company.

Elaine Chao: ‘I Stand By My Man. Both of Them.’
Transportation secretary stays neutral in boss-husband feud

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao gives her “man” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a kiss after he introduced her during her confirmation hearing in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao weighed in Tuesday on President Donald Trump’s feud with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell using unexpected choice words:

“I stand by my man. Both of them,” she said.

Heard on the Hill This Week: Poodle Emergency and McConnell’s Dinner Plans
 

It’s been a long week on the Hill, but no one has had a more “ruff” go of it than Rep. Mark Meadows’ poodle Jolie, who had a minor puppy emergency and had to be tended to by former veterinarian Rep. Ralph Abraham. Watch the video for more from Roll Call’s Heard on the Hill reporter Alex Gangitano, plus special guest Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski on his “Take 5” interview with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Elaine Chao’s Appointment: Sign of Diversity or Nepotism?
Selection could undermine Trump's ’drain the swamp’ mantra

The selection of Elaine Chao, seen here with her husband Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in January,, seems to undermine Donald Trump’s “Drain the swamp” mantra, writes Matt Lewis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Political news often runs the emotional gamut from inspiring to depressing. I was immediately reminded of this with the news that President-elect Donald Trump selected Elaine Chao for Transportation secretary.

Chao’s biography is inspirational and aspirational. The first Asian-American woman to serve in a Cabinet position as George W. Bush’s Labor secretary, Chao is an immigrant from Taiwan (her parents relocated there during the Chinese Civil War) who showed up to her third-grade class not knowing a word of English. She’s also the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (This part is slightly less romantic; his assistant called her assistant to arrange a date.)