Former Peace Corps Director Elaine Chao Helping Her Hubby–Again!



Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dale Gilles (Liberia 1964-66)

Grants for projects favored by McConnell raise ethical questions for Elaine Chao


From The Hill Paper,6/10/19

© Getty Images


Secretary Elaine Chao‘s Department of Transportation (DOT) designated a special liaison for grant applications in Kentucky, the home state of her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), Politico reported Monday, facilitating awards totaling at least $78 million for projects favored by the GOP lawmaker.

The liaison, Todd Inman, reportedly stated in an email to McConnell’s office that Chao had personally asked him to serve as an intermediary who could assist the senator and local Kentucky officials on grants with special significance to McConnell.

Those grants included a highway-improvement project in a McConnell political stronghold that had been rejected twice previously, according to Politico.

Beginning in April 2017, Inman and Chao reportedly met annually with local officials from Owensboro, Ky., and discussed two projects of special importance: a plan to upgrade road connections to a commercial river port and a proposal to expedite reclassifying a local parkway as an interstate spur.

Inman, who now serves as Chao’s chief of staff, emailed the river port authority on how to improve Owensboro’s application after that 2017 meeting, the news outlet noted.

He also reportedly spoke over the phone with Al Mattingly, the chief executive of Daviess County, which includes Owensboro, who suggested to Politico that Inman was crucial in the approval process.

“Todd probably smoothed the way, I mean, you know, used his influence,” Mattingly told the outlet in an interview. “Everybody says that projects stand on their own merit, right? So if I’ve got 10 projects, and they’re all equal, where do you go to break the tie?”

“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, who reportedly 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.”

The circumstances surrounding the Owensboro grant, as well as another to Boone County, Ky., and Inman’s designation as a special intermediary, which other states don’t have, highlight ethical concerns with having a powerful Cabinet secretary married to the Senate’s majority leader, according to Politico.

“Where a Cabinet secretary is doing things that are going to help her husband get reelected, that starts to rise to the level of feeling more like corruption to the average American. … I do think there are people who will see that as sort of ‘swamp behavior,’” John Hudak, a Brookings Institution scholar who has studied political influence in federal grant-making, told the news outlet.

“This online post intentionally misleads readers, misrepresenting the grant application process and disregarding key facts,” a DOT spokesperson told The Hill.

“DOT’s Chief of Staff does not offer technical assistance to grant applications, and no state receives special treatment from the Department. Our team of dedicated career staff does an outstanding job evaluating hundreds of applications for these highly competitive grant programs, a thorough process developed well before this Administration.”

Of 169 grants awarded during Chao’s tenure, the spokesperson noted, Kentucky received five.

McConnell’s office told The Hill that the senator “regularly advocates for Kentuckians with Members of the Cabinet and agencies of the federal government.”

“Senator McConnell recognizes that Kentucky has significant infrastructure projects that need to be replaced, repaired or upgraded,” a spokesperson for McConnell continued. “And that is why he has worked closely with the Department of Transportation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other federal agencies to connect them with Kentuckians to hear first-hand about the importance of these projects.”



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  • First, I’m glad to say that the Founding Fathers, who gave us our democratic system of governing, aren’t here to see corruption like this.

    Secondly, I think it’s important to recognize that simply because Ms Chao had once been given the politically-appointed position of Peace Corps Director, doesn’t necessarily mean that the vision of the late Pres Kennedy and Sargent Shriver meant anything to her — other than a fat paycheck and expense account.

    I’m from New Mexico, and not far from my house, on a lonely hillside, overlooking one of our ancient villages, is a large pinon tree. In Spanish it’s known as “The Hanging Tree”. The way, before the rule of law and courts, unrepentant outlaws were disposed of. Whilst we all worship at the altar of “Rule of Law”, there’s something to be said for the old community method of justice.

    John Turnbull Lower Canoncito, NM

  • In this case, based on the article here from the , the implication is that “helping her hubby” is covered under the rubric of nepotism. Were they not married it would be simony perhaps. But in any case it’s wrong, illegal, corrupt. Correct me if wrong.

  • Per Richard’s question, in the days before “the Rule of Law”, police forces, courts, and juries, the term “Vigilante” (Spanish verb “vigilar”, to be watchful) wasn’t much different than “We the People”. Back then, juries weren’t just a dozen people, but the majority of the entire community. With the steadily-crumbling situation in much of the world today, i can see it returning, regardless of what I would want to see.

    • Excellent comment by John Turnbull about the word vigilante coming from “vigilar” (Spanish verb) meaning to be watchful and TURNBULL attaching it to our saying WE THE PEOPLE. WE THE PEOPLE must arise and rescue our government, our people, our world. More than just resisting, we must re-inhabit “WE THE PEOPLE” to save WE.

  • Thanks, Edward M. if ever there was something that wide-eyed, innocent PCVs discovered during their PC service, it was things like this. How social order and justice is maintained in societies other than ours. I learned a lot watching how African societies handled everything that came their way.

    For the wrongdoer (and every society has them, in varying degrees of commitment to wrong), there is the very real matter of deterrent or warning before-the-fact. In the old days, there was the humiliation of public flogging. And then, on that lonely hillside, which everyone was keenly aware of — “The Hanging Tree”.

    Here in New Mexico, as recently as 1846, the citizenry, faced with an offer from the invading US Army, decided that they would abandon the time-honoured “Law of Vengeance and Retribution” in favour of this new American idea of “Rule of Law”. That is, until this new system failed, in the eyes of “We the People”. And then (and still today) the injured would claim the older right of retribution.(which means taking the law into their own hands). Really, folks ! ! ! In a system such as still exists, one is particularly careful how one treats his neighbour.

    Entonces, mi amigo Don Edwardo, este es la materia de una poema ?? Atempte lo, senor. Buenos saludos, Juan

    • OZ Narrative Goes On

      oz is a nonsense.
      zen is the moment of awareness.
      tao is letting the moment go.
      zen sees everything that is.
      tao moves with everything that is.
      you make your own oz .

      No thought of looking back.
      Further, traveling.
      Turning then back, forward.
      Our road remains, here.
      I think the world of it.

      Here then, there, remains.
      It’s what I give my heart to.
      Ephemera accumulate.
      This is the story: what we are leaving;

      what we have been
      what we were.
      What’s left’s nothing.

      This day’s not yet nothing. The goose
      isn’t cooked yet. Continues

      The narrative. Oz.

      © Copyright Edward Mycue revised 25 June 2019 (for John Turnbull if he’ll have it)

    • Thanks John. From our youthful hopes and cares until now here is a poem SAN FRANCISCO I AM HERE WHERE i FIRST CAME IN JUNE 1961 FROM BOSTON FOR PEACE CORPS GHANA TRAINING AND WHERE i CAME BACK TO STAY JUNE 1, 1970
      Memories are pressing up to thickening light floating when the moon sees our worlds end.
      They bring back unfinished symphonies and at Lands End a sea change under risen consciousness. Get washed I beseech/ tell my blind handsome city.
      Today I write my autograph on your red blood cells. Your skies are plum-colored, your boats oar-less, bobbing in the marmalade waves.
      Your bayside harbor has a stone in its mouth. Winds tear, disarrange clouds; rain sings at noon in a pacific grove, a rainbow seeming both truth and art.
      Wingless buzzing rises in grey fusion.
      Spring winds sing a holocaust song, red love hymns for a queer nation, yellow roses for so many dying becoming blue as slowly the wingless rises, oyster-hued—old linoleum (littered, torn).
      At night your strange heart is music learned in love, moon milk of silence. America, San Francisco, where are your rites?
      At your feet a deep-pile garnet rug are our children: they’re broken bisque porcelain.
      I write my autograph on your red blood cells. Once calf-white, your promise is memory tongued eggshell-thin, a doomed diadem; our need desperate geography and a healing love song for a queer nation.
      Get washed you blind handsome city. Your skies plum-colored, your boats carless bob in the marmalade waves. That harbor with a stone in its mouth.
      Winds tear, disarrange clouds; rain sings at noon in a pacific grove, its
      rainbow seeming both truth and art; a wingless buzzing rises in grey fusion.
      Spring winds sing a holocaust song, red (rue, redwood, red root, rust, red rage) red like hope-ruby of working-class love songs for a queer nation; yellow roses for so many dying becoming blue as slowly the wingless rises, oyster-hued like old linoleum (littered, torn).
      At night, your strange heart is music learned in love the moonmilk of silence. San Francisco, where are your rites?
      At your feet like deep-pile garnet rug are your children: broken bisque porcelain.
      I write my autograph on your red blood cells.
      Once calf-white, your promise is memory-tongued, eggshell-thin, a doomed diadem; and our love for healing is desperate geography.
      © Copyright Edward Mycue For Stonewall

      • and here is another:covering the same territory but from another viewing platform:


        There is a stranger within me who is me and who is not me.
        He swallows and I drink who’ll die when I die
        or so I think.

        Many of us could never go home
        even when we had not left it.
        Home is a windsong in our hearts.
        These hearts have exploded,
        repositioned themselves, ending
        as much the mends themselves
        as the remaindered hearts.
        This then is ‘home’.

        You don’t need contrition for a condition.
        Maybe an explanation will do.
        Maybe it’s an act–not a crime.
        You don’t need permission to seek sublime.
        It’s the condition. Don’t ask vindication.
        Brighten the dark. No negatives first.
        Follow your thirst. Trust intuition. It’s the condition.

        So live today, forget tomorrow. Life’s not just,
        Aand sorrow’s hollow. Anyway That you can do it,
        Do it that way or you will rue it.

        © Copyright Edward Mycue rev.1 July 2019

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