Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao assigned an aide as a special liaison to state officials connected to her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), to help with transportation grant applications, according to the Independent.
According to emails seen by Politico, Ms. Chao and her aide, Todd Inman, reportedly met annually with McConnell and his Kentucky state officials—meetings which lead to the federal government funding $78m worth of projects in Kentucky. The projects included funding in key Republican political areas that had previously been rejected for funds.
Chao and Inman have met for the past 3 years with a delegation from Owenboro, Kentucky, a city that has had many connections to McConnell. They discussed plans to upgrade road connections to the important river port city as well as plans to reclassify a major road into a branch of motorway.
Inman then sent emails after the meetings, advising how to better their application and reportedly was in contact by phone with them as well. A former director of the US Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, detailed the arrangement as “the sort of thing that should lead to the impeachment [of an official]...We are now a full-fledged banana republic.”