Among the allegations, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao failed to divest from a company she owned shares in until a year after she said she would. File Photo by Joe Marino-Bill Cantrell/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 16 (UPI) -- The House oversight and reform committee launched an ethics investigation into Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Monday.
The committee said it plans to probe whether Chao has used her position to benefit herself and members of her family.
A letter from Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., said the committee received reports she used her role on President Donald Trump's Cabinet to influence the Chinese government to give low-interest loans to the Foremost Group, a shipping company her father and sister own. They asked the Transportation Department for documents and information related to this and other allegations.
"The Committee is examining your misstatements of fact, your actions that may have benefitted the company in which you continued to hold shares, and your compliance with ethics and financial disclosure requirements," the letter read.
The letter said she allegedly appeared in Chinese media interviews with her father under the official seal of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The committee said it also plans to investigate Chao's failure to divest of stock in Vulcan Materials Company, a construction firm. During her January 2017 confirmation hearing, Chao promised to enter into an ethics agreement and cash out her stock holdings in Vulcan by April 2018.
Cummings' letter said Chao sold the shares June 3 after The Wall Street Journal published an article revealing she hadn't complied with the April 2018 deadline.
A Transportation spokesman said the department received the oversight committee's letter seeking documentation and information related to the allegations.
"We look forward to responding to the Committee's request. Media attacks targeting the Secretary's family are stale and only attempt to undermine her long career of public service."