On the Trump corruption scale, this probably tops out at about a 1 or 2, but it’s still worth covering seemingly mundane corruption non-scandals to demonstrate how disturbingly normal this has all become. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife is Trump’s Transportation Secretary, and she’s made some money doing something she said she would not do on this form filed to the Office of Government Ethics. Per the Wall Street Journal:
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has retained shares in a construction-materials company more than a year after the date she promised to relinquish them, federal disclosure forms show.
Shares of the company, Vulcan Materials Co., the country’s largest supplier of crushed stone, sand and gravel used in road-paving and building, have risen nearly 13% since April 2018, the month in which Ms. Chao said she would be cashed out of the stock.
Corporate and government filings prove that Trump’s Transportation Secretary has netted $40,000 since she said she was going to sell the stock. While a Department of Transportation spokesman told WSJ that an ethics official determined that these shares do not present a conflict of interest, since Chao has recused herself from all things relating to Vulcan Materials Co., this still is a contradiction of what the Transportation Secretary promised a government ethics department she would do.
This is yet another story in a seemingly infinite array about a culture of corruption that has poisoned our executive branch. The WSJ report does not point to a specific instance of Chao profiting off DoT policy, but saying one thing on her official government form, and doing another while making money off a company the DoT must do business with sends a clear message from on high to all employees beneath Chao: Who cares about even the appearance of guilt in the Trump Administration? It’s not like anyone is going to notice if you’re actually guilty.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.