McConnell Denies Special Treatment from Wife Elaine Chao: ‘I Was Complaining to Her Just Last Night’


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) shrugged off questions about a recent Politico report on his wife, Transportation Department Secretary Elaine Chao, using her government powers to carry out special favors for her husband in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky.

“You know, I was complaining to her just last night, 169 projects and Kentucky got only five,” McConnell replied today after a reporter asked if he received “special treatment or consideration” from Chao. “I hope we’ll do a lot better next year.”

Earlier this week, Politico reported that Chao dispatched a special Kentucky liaison, Todd Inman, focused on managing grant applications in the state; he was also tasked with assisting McConnell’s office and other Kentucky officials and met with the secretary in the state to plan special projects, including improving a road improvement and updating a highway to an interstate spur. In one email, Chao went so far as to request that Inman be the intermediary for McConnell and local officials when dealing with especially important grants.

In a statement to The Hill about the allegations yesterday, McConnell’s office said, “Senator McConnell recognizes that Kentucky has significant infrastructure projects that need to be replaced, repaired or upgraded. And that is why he has worked closely with the Department of Transportation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other federal agencies to connect them with Kentuckians to hear first-hand about the importance of these projects,” the spokesperson continued.

The Transportation Department maintains that “no state receives special treatment.”

[Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

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Caleb Ecarma was a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma