Monday, September 30, 2019

Follow the Money: Moscow Mitch and Elaine Chao

The House Oversight and Reform Committee on Monday sought documents from Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao as it investigates what it calls “troubling questions” into whether the Trump appointee misused her position for personal and family benefit. Federal employees are forbidden from using public office for friends’ or relatives’ “private gain. The State Department was leery of Chao’s efforts to include her relatives in meetings with Chinese officials. Elaine Chao’s father touted his daughter’s influence within the United States government and boasted about his access to President Trump on Air Force One.

The Republican Senate minority leader’s personal wealth grew seven-fold over the last ten years thanks in large part to a gift given to him and his wife in 2008 from James Chao worth between $5 million and $25 million (Senate ethics forms require personal finance disclosures in ranges of amounts, rather than specific figures).

Over a period of five years, millions of dollars were quietly funneled to a Chao family foundation via two offshore firms that list a New York address but are not incorporated anywhere in the United States. The connection between the offshore accounts and the donation to the Chao family foundation were found through a search of the Paradise Papers — a trove of more than 13 million leaked documents from tax havens around the world obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung

In August 2014, the vessel Ping May, owned by the Chao’s Foremost Maritime Corporation, was found to be carrying ninety pounds of cocaine. Contacted by telephone, a representative of Foremost said he is “obviously going to have no comment on this one.” (The Nation)

Friday, September 06, 2019

White House Publishes List of President Trump’s Accomplishments