In her first 14 months as Transportation secretary, Elaine Chao met with officials from Kentucky, which her husband Mitch McConnell represents in the Senate, vastly more often than those from any other state.In all, 25 percent of Chao’s scheduled meetings with local officials of any state from January 2017 to March 2018 were with Kentuckians, who make up only about 1.3 percent of the U.S. population. The next closest were Indiana and Georgia, with 6 percent of meetings each, according to Chao’s calendar records, the only ones that have been made public.At least five of Chao’s 18 meetings with local Kentuckians were requested in emails from McConnell staffers, who alerted Chao’s staffers which of the officials were “friends” or “loyal supporters,” according to records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.The emails from McConnell’s office to Chao’s staff sometimes included details about projects that participants wanted to discuss with the secretary, or to ask her for special favors. Some of the officials who met with Chao had active grant applications before the Department of Transportation through competitive programs and the emails indicate that the meetings sometimes involved the exchange of information about grants and opportunities for the officials to plead their case directly before Chao.
Look, if you can’t use your cabinet department to advance the political interests of your husband, what’s the point of public service?
* Ryan Goodman and John T. Nelson have a useful explainer laying out how everything in the whistleblower complaint that has been corroborated.
* Eric Boehlert argues that yes, Fox News viewers are brainwashed.
* Aaron Belkin and Sean McElwee explain why John Roberts is just as much of a partisan as are the other Supreme Court justices.
* Robert Schlesinger marvels at just how bizarre Trump’s campaign against Joe Biden is.
* And David Edward Burke argues that instead of packing the Supreme Court, we should fix it for good.