Guest Blogger

What's wrong with Elaine Chao?

Filed By Guest Blogger | February 16, 2008 4:29 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: Elaine Chao, George W. Bush, Mitch McConnell

[EDITOR'S NOTE:] This guest post comes to us from Michael Whitney of American Rights at Work.

meridian_hill 037.jpgBrownie, Rummy, Wolfie, and Alberto - all incompetent Bush appointees, none of whom enjoy taxpayer-funded jobs anymore. When the public heard about their wrongdoings, they were out of office (sooner or later).

So why is Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao entering her eighth year in office under Bush? Is she the anti-Bush appointee? Does she actually do her job well? A diamond in the rough of this administration?

Yeah, right.

Elaine Chao is George W. Bush's longest-serving cabinet member and wife of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Under Elaine’s 'leadership,' the Department of Labor has turned into an agency that screws America's workers and enables corporate giveaways.

That's why this week workers' rights advocacy group American Rights at Work launches a new campaign against Elaine Chao at

Unlike her cohorts in the Bush Administration, Elaine Chao has escaped much-needed public scrutiny of her time on the job. From littering the Labor Department with corporate insiders to dismantling worker safety protections and collaborating with her husband, Sen. Mitch McConnell, on a blatant anti-worker political agenda, Elaine has disgraced her role as Secretary of Labor.

Let's take a look at some of her more egregious failures.

Elaine Chao’s atrocious policies include rollbacks of critical mine safety protections, hostility toward workers and their unions, and collaboration with corporate interests, most notably through her husband, Senator Mitch McConnell.

Specifically, Elaine Chao:

  • Hired a former colleague from the Heritage Foundation who actually wrote a report titled "How to close down the Department of Labor."
  • Cut over 100 inspectors at the MSHA and, as a result, hundreds of mines weren't inspected and tragedies such as Sago and Crandall Canyon might have been prevented.
  • Had Chao-themed coins, lanyards, and fleece blankets printed at taxpayers' expense.
  • Failed to issue a rule requiring employers pay for their workers' safety gear-contributing to 400,000 workers injured and 50 dead.
  • Had an auditorium named in her honor - thanks to her husband's $14.2 million earmark to enhance the Mitch McConnell Center at his alma mater, the University of Louisville. Of course, Elaine never attended the university.
It's kind of hard to believe, right? How could one person get away with so much? Even for a Bushie, it's an atrocious record. Labor activists have known from the beginning that Elaine Chao was not their friend. Now, for the first time, we've put Elaine's record all in one place. And it's pretty ugly. As more and more people learn about the mess Elaine's made of the Department of Labor, the more people get outraged. But if you need to vent that outrage, we set up a page to contact her. Already in the last week, 10,000 people wrote letters to Chao's mine safety director telling him to improve mine safety. We expect even more to step it up and write to Elaine. We’re going to keep the heat on Elaine to:
  • Expose Elaine’s egregious policies affecting workers to hurt her legacy.
  • Increase pressure and demand accountability from Elaine during her final year.
  • Set a higher standard of what is expected from our next Secretary of Labor – a public official who must provide a well-balanced agenda and adequately enforce federal labor laws.

Accompanying this website is an extensive online advertising campaign of blogads, microtargeted Facebook ads to federal employees, feed advertising, and keyword search ads.

Take a look for yourself at for plenty more examples of Elaine’s failures as Secretary of Labor. If you like what you see – please spread it around! Let's bring Shame to Elaine Chao.

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Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | February 16, 2008 6:37 PM

Shame, indeed!!! The Bush administration is a cesspool of incompetence, cronyism, corruption, hypocrisy, and iniquity. Good on you for the website!

I live in Kentucky, and we have wanted to get rid of Napoleon McConnell for years now. Nail Chao and her fascist mini-me husband to the wall by their heels.

Why is it the Bush administration thought they should put people in charge of departments that are adamantly against the very core of the department? Somehow they stopped at the Department of Defense... Just think what could have been if they'd followed the pattern and nominated Dennis Kucinich as the Sec of Defense...