An Obvious Conflict Of Interest

Senator Mitch McConnell does not like tariffs. He does not like them on China where they are levied in an attempt to level the playing field on trade, and he does not like them on Mexico where they are being levied in an attempt to stop the flow of illegals and drugs over our southern border.

Unfortunately, the meme below is not a joke:

An article posted at Breitbart today explains the problem. Senator McConnell is married to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

In the article, Peter Schweizer explains why that is important:

Schweizer highlighted Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is married to McConnell, as illustrative of what he described as widespread political conflicts of interest between sitting American officials and foreign governments.

“The Chao family are deeply embedded commercially and financially with the Chinese government,” explained McConnell. “The Chinese government essentially set them up in the shipping business. Their ships — these are large cargo ships that transport a large amount of goods around the Pacific.”

Schweizer added, “The Chinese government is financing the building of these ships for the Chao family business. They provide crews for these chips, and they provide contracts to ship steel and other products around the Pacific.”

The Foremost Group is a shipping business founded by James Chao, Elaine Chao’s father. The Chao family business primarily revolves around China, necessitating “deep ties to the economic and political elite in China,” according to a Sunday-published New York Times report.

“[The Chao family’s shipping business] started out in the early 1990s with just a couple of vessels, a couple of large cargo ships,” said Schweizer. “They now have, by some estimates, 35 or 36, many of those built by the Chinese government. The estimates are that hundreds of millions of dollars in financing is done by the Chinese to build these ships, and that they give them preferential treatment.”

Schweizer explained, “Business in China is done with a political purpose. The China State Shipbuilding Corporation is controlled by the government, by the Communist Party, and they do business deals with people in the West with the expectation that they will get things in return.”

That is called a conflict of interest. So what is Senator McConnell’s problem with the Mexican tariffs? Many Republicans have aligned themselves with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which supports our porous southern border as a source of cheap labor. There has never been a border wall because Republican business men who contribute to political campaigns want cheap labor and Democrats want future voters.

Ever Wonder How Congressmen Become Millionaires On Less Than $200,000 A Year?

There are strong laws on the books to prevent lawmakers in Washington from profiting from their jobs in ways that are not ethical. However, there are no laws on the books to prevent the families of lawmakers in Washington from totally taking advantage of their relative’s position. Peter Schweizer has written a book titled Secret Empire which sheds light on some of the unsavory financial activities of some of our politicians.

Yesterday Fox News posted an article about the book discussing how laws and regulations can be used to enrich friends and family.

The article lists a few specific examples:

Schweizer said the Vistria Group, run by Obama’s best friend, Marty Nesbitt, drove the for-profit school University of Phoenix into the ground and then swooped in to buy it.

 “They come in, they buy it for pennies on the dollar and low and behold, the Obama administration says, ‘You know what, we think we’re going to let GI money float again back to the University of Phoenix,’” he said.

…Schweizer said the level of corruption extended to former Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State John Kerry after both leaders negotiated with China on trade issues.

“At this time the sons, or in one case, John Kerry’s close aide, are involved in businesses that involve multi-billion dollar deals with the Chinese government,” he said on “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”

Schweizer claims that 10 days after Biden flew to Beijing, his son, Hunter Biden, scored a $1.5 billion private equity deal from the Chinse government.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, current US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, are also mentioned in the book. The book details the couples close relationship to China through Elaine Chao’s family.

The New York Post reported on March 17th:

As Schweizer tells it, the Chao family fortune derives from the Foremost Group, a shipping company that Chinese native James Chao, a classmate of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin at Jiao Tong University, founded in New York in 1964. Chao remains Foremost’s chairman today, and his daughters Angela and Christine are the company’s deputy chairwoman and general counsel, respectively. Elaine Chao worked there in the 1970s, and has been quoted as saying, “Shipping is our family tradition.”

It really is time to begin again in Washington. The only people who should be allowed to stay in Congress are people whose net worth has not increased more than 10 percent during their terms of office. (Of course then you could make the argument that they simply did not take advantage of the opportunities around them!)

At any rate, it really is time to drain the swamp (and to understand that both political parties are involved in the swamp).

The Trump Cabinet So Far

This chart is from The Daily Signal showing how the Trump cabinet is progressing:

cabinet-picksI guess things were not as chaotic as the press was reporting.

The article notes:

Trump’s selection of Jeff Sessions as attorney general on Nov. 18 made him the second-fastest president-elect in recent history to pick a Cabinet nominee. He added another on Nov. 23 with Besty DeVos as education secretary.

In the fourth week of the transition, Trump has named five nominees: Rep. Tom Price at the Department of Health and Human Services, Elaine Chao at the Department of Transportation, Steven Mnuchin at the Treasury Department, Wilbur Ross at the Commerce Department, and retired Marine Gen. James Mattis at the Department of Defense.

The speed of Trump’s choices is even more surprising given that Bush enjoyed the continuity of Republican government in 1988; two of Bush’s three nominations in November 1988 were holdovers from the Reagan administration. With his selection of Price and Chao, Trump is now the fastest president-elect in 40 years to fill four Cabinet roles.

Some of these choices have not met with overwhelming approval from conservatives, but we need to remember a few things. All of these picks have been successful in their areas of expertise. Theoretically, Trump is in charge and will set the agenda. I would like to ask that my conservative friends hold their fire until someone actually does something that  impacts some policy. Republicans (and sometimes conservatives) have a gift for forming circular firing squads. Let’s not form one now. Let’s stop adding to the media frenzy.  We need to give Donald Trump a chance to make the changes he believes will move the country in the right direction. We may not agree with all of those moves, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Take a deep breath, relax, and let’s see what happens next.