Chao Bragged About Attacking Organized Labor.   In November 2016 the Washington Post wrote, “Labor leaders remain hostile after her sharp-elbowed approach to unions set the tone. Shortly after she left office in 2009, she touted her department’s crackdown on unions.  ‘From 2001-2008, the Labor Department secured more than 1,000 union fraud-related indictments and 929 convictions,’ she claimed in a Heritage Foundation essay, though she provided no specifics.”  [Washington Post, 11/29/16]

Chao’s Labor Department Failed To Investigate Wage Theft Complaints.   In November 2016 the Washington Post wrote, “The Government Accountability Office said in a report that her department did not fully investigate when low-wage workers lodged complaints against their employers over failure to pay the minimum wage or overtime.”  [Washington Post, 11/29/16]

Chao’s Labor Department Told A Woman Receiving No Pay The Department Wouldn’t Help Her.  In November 2016 Bloomberg wrote, “The Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, said the Labor Department under Chao inadequately investigated complaints from low-wage and minimum-wage workers alleging that employers failed to pay the federal minimum wage and required overtime, according to a July 2008 report. In one example, the department told a woman receiving room and board, but no pay, for working as a night attendant at an assisted living facility that she could file a private lawsuit, according to the report.”  [Bloomberg, 11/29/16]

GAO: Chao’s Labor Department Left Thousands “With Nowhere To Turn.”  In November 2016 Bloomberg wrote, “In another report a year later, GAO said Labor Department procedures “left thousands of actual victims of wage theft who sought federal government assistance with nowhere to turn.””  [Bloomberg, 11/29/16]

Chao’s Failure To Adequately Inspect Mines Was Implicated In The Deaths Of Miners.   In November 2016 the Washington Post wrote, “Chao also faced criticism in two mining disasters that occurred after coal mine inspections were reduced. In the Sago Mine incident in 2006, 12 miners were killed. The following year, three rescue workers died at Crandall Canyon Mine as they tried to reach trapped miners.  Though Chao announced beefed up inspections after the two disasters, an inspector general’s report in 2008 found that many mines still went uninspected.”  [Washington Post, 11/29/16]


Washington Post: Chao Is A Washington Insider Nominated After Trump’s Promise To “Drain The Swamp.   In November 2016 the Washington Post wrote, “In naming a former Cabinet member, who has been married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) since 1993, Trump selected another Washington insider after campaigning on a promise to “drain the swamp” of the influences that he said permeate the capital.”  [Washington Post, 11/29/16]

A Commerce Department Official Said Chao Asked Him To Illegally Funnel Money McConnell’s Campaign.   In November 2016 the Washington Post wrote, “Chao also faced controversy involving her husband. In 1999, a House committee heard testimony from John Huang, a former midlevel Commerce Department official, who said that Chao asked him to contribute to McConnell. The Indonesian company for which he worked, Huang said, illegally reimbursed him for the $2,000 contribution. Huang later pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws for funneling $100,000 to Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign.”  [Washington Post, 11/29/16]

Chao Used Taxpayer Money To Campaign For Republican Candidates In 2006.  In October 2008 Bloomberg wrote, “The White House directed officials including cabinet secretaries to appear at more than 300 events to help elect Republican candidates in 2006, according to a draft Congressional report.  The appearances were coordinated by the White House Office of Political Affairs, often at taxpayer expense, said the report by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  ‘In some instances,’ the draft report stated, ‘the White House specifically requested that travel be billed to the taxpayers to save Republican campaigns money.’ Of 326 events in 2006 attended by Bush administration officials, 303 required travel outside Washington, according to the report.”  And, “Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez attended 59 events, followed by former Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, who attended 38, and Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao, who attended 25, according to the draft report.” [Bloomberg (via, 10/16/08]


McConnell Said He Would Not Recuse Himself When His Wife Is Negotiating With Congress For The Whitehouse.   In November 2016 the Washington Post wrote, “McConnell and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) are critical players both in negotiating with the administration and quieting fractious members — often from their own party — who might obstruct their goals. Whether Chao will negotiate directly with her husband was unclear Tuesday.  ‘Let me be quite clear, I will not be recusing myself,’ McConnell said. ‘I think it was an outstanding choice.’”  [Washington Post, 11/29/16]

Chao’s Husband Is The Leader Of The Body Tasked With Confirming Her Appointment.   In November 2016 the Washington Post wrote, “The pace of Chao’s nomination is likely to move quickly, as her recent public service means that there are somewhat recent vetting files on her. McConnell promised to quickly move ahead with hearings on some nominees even before Trump is sworn in Jan. 20.”  [Washington Post, 11/29/16]