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In at least a dozen interviews with Chinese and Chinese-American media outlets since her nomination, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has appeared beside her shipping magnate father, whose company carries goods between the United States and Asia, and who has given Chao and her husband at least $5 million in the past 10 years.
In many of the videos, James Chao is introduced as founder and chairman of the Foremost Group shipping company, and, in discussing a 2016 biography about his life, speaks proudly of his daughter’s role as secretary of transportation, as she sits beaming by his side.
The article goes on to state the following:
One interview with New China Press published on April 12, 2017, features the pair sitting in what appears to be the Department of Transportation, with DOT flags in view behind the interviewer. Long portions of the interview are in Chinese, with James Chao talking about his life story, with a copy of his biography on the screen, and Elaine Chao extolling her father’s success story as “lifting the status of Asian-Americans in America.” She also touts his $40 million gift to Harvard University.
The appearances raise ethical concerns, experts say, because public officials are legally banned from using their office for any form of private gain for themselves or others. In the videos, James Chao, who has four other living daughters, sits beside the transportation secretary while discussing the family business — which has expanded in recent years and relies in part on Asian and Asian-American customers — and his 2016 biography, which touts him as a business success and philanthropic leader.
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— POLITICO (@politico) May 7, 2018
An ethics expert said Elaine Chao’s actions appear “consistent with other things we’ve seen in the Trump administration, with the blurring of the public/private line, the exploitation of a government authority to promote the enterprise of a family member.” https://t.co/Mb8JgXpIaQ
— Sudeep Reddy (@Reddy) May 6, 2018
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao may be violating regulations against using public office for private gain, experts say, by doing interviews with her shipping magnate father. https://t.co/PoCKSdIMWR via @politico
— Carl Zimmer (@carlzimmer) May 7, 2018
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