Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio wants an investigation into whether Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has conflicts of interest — particularly when it comes to her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
DeFazio, the top Democrat on the House Transportation Committee, sent a letter to the U.S. Transportation Department’s inspector general late last week asking for an inquiry into Chao. He wants the results reported to his committee.
Politico has reported that Chao held a disproportionate number of meetings with constituents in McConnell’s Kentucky district during her first year in the Trump administration. Politico has also suggested that she has designated her chief of staff to specialize in Kentucky issues.
“I would expect Secretary Chao to meet with individuals from her home state more regularly than other states,” DeFazio wrote, “but the sheer volume of meetings with local officials from Kentucky when compared to meetings with local officials from the rest of the country creates an appearance of favoritism that is troubling.
“Even more troubling is the fact that Senator McConnell’s campaign touted the Politico article on social media saying, ‘Mitch McConnell is a Kentucky Asset.’”
The top Republican on the House Transportation Committee derided DeFazio’s request for an investigation as “a ridiculous attempt at a political hit job,” according to Politico.