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Category Archives: politricks


It seems that the seat fillers we call Congress are all cowards and as we already know liars! They have been caught unawares on multiple issues stated in TOTUS’s tweet stream and during his campaign rallies. With all the backpedaling and explaining they have had to do, they still back this backward running horse. My firm conviction is that the President’s election is in many ways less important than the members of Congress as many have been in office for longer terms than the President. Add to this their openly poor performance on many life determining issues for us all, we have the perfect storm of Government gone wild. Bitch McConnell has kept his head down while doing his “save my own ass” act instead of leading as he should “loud and out front” as he did when Barry was President. The back room activities (or lack of) in Congress is where our failures start and stop. The upcoming national and local elections are our opportunity to shift the administration towards one that reflects the will of the ALL of us, not just a privileged few. We have been in the grip of a Crisis maker who wants to appear to ride to the rescue as if leading a country is an Action movie. Our sole objective needs to be the correction of government’s function which simply put means using our tax dollars to take care of us and assist our allies in the struggle for peace and prosperity.

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Peter Wade, Rolling Stone 17 hours ago

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been taking heat this week for cutting funding from the Special Olympics in its budget proposal this year, but a department official familiar with the process who spoke with CNN said it was the White House Office of Management and Budget that insisted on revoking funding, not DeVos.
DeVos, though, was the one who had to appear before Congress and defend the decision by the government to cut the $18 million in funding for the event, only to have President Donald Trump restore it two days later.
Another staff member who spoke with CNN described the fallout as the “week from hell.”
Department staffers said that their budget proposals had included money for the Special Olympics, but the Office of Management and Budget kept rejecting it.
After the cuts received a flurry of negative news coverage, the president decided to restore funding. “The Special Olympics will be funded,” Trump told reporters, adding, “I have overridden my people, we’re funding the Special Olympics.” He also claimed he “had no idea” about the proposed cuts until the press started reporting it.

After Trump reinstated the funds, DeVos issued a statement saying she was “pleased and grateful the President and I see eye-to-eye on this issue.” She added, “This is funding I have fought for behind the scenes over the last several years.” That last statement contradicts what DeVos said to Congress, but two people familiar with the process confirmed DeVos’s characterization to CNN.
The Office of Management and Budget also released a statement of its own: “The President trusts his agencies and staff to implement his goals, yet when he learned of this issue, he has a big heart and made an executive decision. While the budget requests over $13 billion for special education, this administration has also always made clear that the Special Olympics is a worthy cause. His announcement yesterday does not change the overall goals of the budget and we will work with Congress to ensure the President’s priorities and agenda are advanced on behalf of the American people.”
Sounds like once again the White House was caught in crisis of its own making.
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There are mainstream and semi-mainstream personalities who promote conspiracy theories as a job. Some monetize these efforts with donations from believers and some other contributors yet the information offered is more hyperbole than fact. Conspiracy theories are just that, theories- until proven to be real. Many of these theories are derived from undeveloped ideas, half-truths and sometimes legends. These skewed versions somehow sound plausible to many due to their personal biases and circumstances. The beliefs in these theories and other off-center beliefs have become fodder for the extreme sides of politics while coloring the facts. Now that the Mueller investigation is done(?), we have more questions than answers and more Trumpian utterings from Congress and the OFFAL office stating exoneration. This is not the end of this as the truth is still unknown and thereby will promote more Conspiracy theories to carry us into the next major election.

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Thank you, GOP (or Dupublicans) and “Scamocrats”   for your continued support of misfit leaders in the Senate and the Oval Office. It will not go unnoticed in the next election by people who vote and are affected by your poor performance.MA

Sebastian Murdock
HuffPost•March 15, 2019
President Donald Trump this week issued a thinly veiled threat of violence against his opponents, saying that members of the police, military and biker gangs could “play it tough” if they “reach a certain point.”
It was a disturbing remark, but even more disturbing is the fact that its part of a long history of Trump encouraging his supporters to engage in violence. Largely unchecked by his party’s leadership, Trump’s rhetoric has become normalized despite its real-world ramifications.
“I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of Bikers for Trump,” Trump told Breitbart in the interview, which he later tweeted. “I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”
“I think it sounds very much to me like he’s encouraging them to engage in something that’s probably illegal such as assaulting people, you know behave in a dangerous way,” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) told MSNBC. “That sounds like a threat to me. I think it’s appalling.”

The president later deleted his tweet as news began to trickle in of a mass shooting in New Zealand that left at least 49 worshiping Muslims dead on Friday. While there are no signs that the suspect was a close follower of Trump, he did mention the U.S. president once in his rambling manifesto, calling Trump “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” Trump has previously banned those from majority-Muslim countries from coming into the U.S., keeping families apart under a racist policy.
It’s impossible to ignore how Trump’s continued rhetoric of violence and fear of other ethnicities has inspired his supporters to carry out attacks. Pro-Trump extremists sought to slaughter Somali Muslim immigrants in Kansas before authorities managed to intervene. The men chose their targets after Trump called refugees “the greatest Trojan horse of all time,” according to court testimony.
The case is one of more than a dozen where apparent Trump supporters attacked or plotted to attack Muslims. Acts of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism have surged during Trump’s presidency, with more than 150 instances of Trump-related taunts and attacks, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.
But it’s not just hate speech the president gloms onto when encouraging violence. During the 2016 presidential election cycle, Trump continuously called for his supporters to commit violence against protestors.
“If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you?” Trump said at a 2016 rally in Iowa. “Seriously, OK. Just knock the hell — I promise you I will pay for the legal fees, I promise.”
It worked. Videos taken at Trump rallies show his supporters lobbing punches at protestors.
In 2017, a gaggle of white supremacists committed acts of violence in Charlottesville, leading to the killing of anti-racist protestor Heather Heyer. It should have been a layup for the president to condemn the attack. He defended his racist supporters instead.
“You have people who are very fine people on both sides,” Trump said.
GOP leaders have largely ignored Trump’s repeated calls for violence. After Trump claimed to have the might of the military on his side, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stayed quiet. Sens. McConnell and John Cornyn (R-Texas), along with Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) did not respond to HuffPost’s requests asking if they would condemn Trump’s latest remarks.
As the GOP fails to respond to Trumps’ threats, the violence continues. Last October, pipe bombs were mailed to the political enemies of Trump and to the New York offices of CNN, which Trump has consistently deemed the “enemy of the people.” The Florida suspect in that case drove a van plastered with images of the president, and had told coworkers he “wanted to go back to the Hitler days.”
Just days after authorities caught the pipe bomb suspect, another wave of terror hit when a man went into a Pittsburgh synagogue and killed 11 people. Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers later met with the president to remind him that “hate speech leads to hateful actions.”
The rabbi’s words apparently fell on deaf ears.

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The proposed budget as outlined below indicates how out of touch the current administration is or perhaps they do not care about the effects this budget if passed will have on the country and especially the neediest of us all no matter the race. This administration seems to have the idea that these cuts will only affect mostly nonwhite Americans. The point of this budget is to get money for a wall that in its use will not stem the flow of drugs, illegals as the administration likes to tout. Better thinkers have pointed out what is needed in conjunction with some “barriers”  are more personnel (jobs) and electronic surveillance (jobs). This is an indication of “trump” method of conducting business e.g create a crisis or situation then through solutions at it and hope something works, if not move on like grazing cattle . Examining the current cabinet composition we can easily see that they are not the “best” people as TOTUS assured us he would appoint (drain the swamp?). MA

JIM TANKERSLEY and MICHAEL TACKETT 1 hr ago

As budget deficit balloons, few in Washington seem to care

WASHINGTON — President Trump sent Congress on Monday a record $4.75 trillion budget request that proposes an increase in military spending and sharp cuts to domestic programs like education and environmental protection for the 2020 fiscal year.
Mr. Trump’s budget, the largest in federal history, includes a nearly 5 percent increase in military spending — which is more than the Pentagon had asked for — and an additional $8.6 billion for construction of a border wall with Mexico.
White House officials said the budget would include a total of $1.9 trillion in cuts to mandatory safety net programs, like Medicaid. It also proposes new work requirements for working-age adult recipients of supplemental nutrition assistance, federal housing support and Medicaid, a move the administration said would reduce spending on those programs by $327 billion.

The president is asking for a 5 percent, cut in nondefense discretionary spending, compared to 2019 spending caps set by Congress. That would amount to $100 billion less than Congress actually spent on nondefense discretionary programs in 2019, when it busted those caps.
Those cuts would not be across the board but come from programs at federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, where Mr. Trump has previously suggested cutting funds. The budget would also reduce spending on foreign aid, international cultural exchange programs and federal employee retirement plans.
A few domestic spending programs would see increases, if Mr. Trump’s budget were to become law. Those include efforts to reduce opioid addiction and a 10 percent increase in health care spending for veterans. Mr. Trump will also propose a new school-choice program, $200 billion in infrastructure spending and efforts to reduce the cost of prescription drugs.
The budget would not balance for 15 years, breaking Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign promise to pay off the entire national debt within eight years. Mr. Trump’s first budget proposed to achieve balance in 10 years.
The budget forecasts trillion-dollar deficits for four straight years, starting in 2019.
The budget is unlikely to have much impact on actual spending levels, which are controlled by Congress. As with any president in a time of divided government, the blueprint is more of a declaration of Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign priorities than it is a guide to spending decisions in Washington this year. Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate pronounced the budget dead on arrival on Sunday. Mr. Trump’s budgets largely failed to gain traction in previous years, when Republicans controlled both chambers.
Budget details released by White House officials highlight several areas of conflict between Democrats and Mr. Trump, starting with immigration enforcement. Along with renewing the wall funding fight that led to a record government shutdown late last year, Mr. Trump is asking for more personnel at United States Customs and Immigration Enforcement and a policy change meant to end so-called sanctuary cities, which do not hand over undocumented immigrants to federal officials when they are arrested in local crimes.
Administration officials fanned out to defend the president’s budget. Russ Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, blamed Democrats for “our nation’s $22 trillion debt,” while omitting that the debt has soared under Mr. Trump.
In an Op-Ed on FoxNews.com, he said that the president’s proposed cuts in domestic spending were in line with his campaign promises. He then outlined a number of programs, such as $68 million “being spent every year on international labor activities, including promoting unions in countries in South America,” that he said highlighted wasteful spending.

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For the past 10 to 15 years the Bipartisan flavor of the U.S. Congress has changed to a bitter  political fight. This is all due to long serving members of Congress who have aspired to leadership to further their own agendas. With the election of TOTUS these members have pandered to his whims to try to keep control of Government. This was never the intent of the founders and is not the sentiment of most American voters. As voters we have allowed it  to happen through complacency. We (or many of us) have unfortunately drank the “kool Aid” of bigotry and extensive lies about everything from immigration to “taxes” . The ignorance disseminated from the White House, Fax news and other sources of extreme news has become pervasive across the country.  For many who do not remember or never knew WWII began in the 30’s with Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Josef Stalin all of whom had high flying propaganda machines that selected vulnerable people and institutions as objects of their venom. Folks, believe it or not we have the same process going on now. It is within our ability as voters to change this by gaining knowledge of the facts through any means possible and accepting information that is correct even if it sounds different than what you believe (the possibility of you being wrong is there). The point is to be open to changing with the correct information being given to you. All of this being said we just have to take what our elected officials (and the aspiring ones) say with a grain of salt or the entire box if required. Educate yourselves with books and information from several sources to get a decent assessment of what is really happening in this country.

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The current in powered members of Congress have learned to cry foul since the minority party has gained control of the House. During The Obama administration Bitch McConnell publicly and unabashedly stated that this President will get nothing passed. Now this same Congress is crying foul when the “other side” is crusading against the poor and possibly illegal actions of TOTUS. The GOP has abdicated their duties to America as “representatives” of their respective constituencies. The elected leader of the Senate appears to be afraid to confront this President in the face of poor judgement on his (TOTUS) Foreign policy, Trade policy and in general his leadership. Essentially the Congress has made the Country a subsidiary of Trump Industries. Voters have one goal and that is to educate themselves in what is true and what is false. One has to remember that what sounds true and is false is influenced by one’s own biases with no regard to how someone else’s biases affects their lives. An example of how Congress has failed us all is The ACA: Congress exempted themselves and their staff from the penalty of not having insurance, they exempted themselves from the loss income during a shutdown. Is this representing you? Now the “Tax Reform” which removed deductions that served as a backup for many is pushing more towards and into poverty. This “Tax Reform” is a boon for Congress and people who make salaries in the 6 digit range and above. In order to get it right requires an informed electorate which requires reading and investigation not depending on talking heads who are seeking to push agendas that are false.

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Trump, Cohen and the paradox of believing proven liars
David Knowles 16 hours ago

Throughout Michael Cohen’s testimony this week before the House Oversight Committee, Republicans repeated what would seem to be a simple rule of human nature: Never trust a person who has been proven to be a liar.
“I want everyone in this room to think about this, the first announced witness for the 116th Congress is a guy who is going to prison in two months for lying to Congress,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said in his opening remarks.
But as more Republicans on the committee followed Jordan’s lead, that strategy quickly hit a wall.
“You’re a pathological liar. You don’t know truth from falsehood,” Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz, scolded Cohen, who then swiftly turned the tables on his interrogators.
“Sir, I’m sorry, are you referring to me or the president?” Cohen asked with a boyish grin.
Therein lies a paradox for the Republican Party. They distrust the fixer who lied to protect the president, but trust the president who himself has been shown to have difficulties telling the truth.
By the Washington Post’s count, as of Feb. 17, Trump has made 8,718 “false or misleading claims” while in office. One of the more glaring untruths was revealed by the New York Times on Thursday, showing that Trump had apparently misled the paper when asked directly whether he had intervened in any way to secure a top-level security clearance for his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.
“I was never involved in the security,” Trump told the paper just weeks ago when asked about his involvement.
That claim was laid bare after the Times learned about two contemporaneous memos written last May. One written by Trump’s former chief of staff, retired Gen. John Kelly, and the other by former White House counsel Don McGahn, detailed how Trump had personally ordered that Kushner be granted the security clearance despite objections by the CIA and others in government.
Whether it be Trump’s changing explanation for a meeting between members of his presidential campaign — including Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and his son, Don Jr. — and a Russian lawyer, or his insistence to reporters on Air Force One that he never knew that Cohen had paid hush money to Daniels (checks presented this week by his former lawyer for the repayment of a debt undercut that notion), the president’s own claims would seem to merit more than a touch of skepticism.
But trust, it turns out, is a partisan sport. And the Democrats were caught in their own truth dilemma this week by choosing to believe that Cohen, who begins a three-year prison term in May, in part for lying to Congress, was finally coming clean when speaking ill of Trump.
“I believe he told the truth,” committee chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., told reporters at the conclusion of Cohen’s marathon grilling.
1While asking liars to tell the truth carries self-evident risks, in the matter of Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, it would seem to be the only option. Mind you, for a skilled prosecutor, the truth is out there, and in this case, it involves talking to a whole lot of liars to find it.
Manafort, for instance, was convicted of eight felonies, including multiple counts of tax and bank fraud. In addition, Robert Mueller laid out his case that Manafort breached his cooperation deal by lying about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Ukrainian-Russian political consultant.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about searching in the 2016 presidential election for Russian “dirt” on Hillary Clinton that could aid Trump.
Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser, has been indicted by Mueller’s office on one count of obstruction, one count of witness tampering and five counts of making false statements.
That Trump has surrounded himself with this cast of characters may help explain why the president spends so much time decrying “fake news.” If no one can be trusted to tell the truth, after all, then why bother worrying about the coverage of Cohen’s testimony, the Mueller investigation or whether Trump intervened on behalf of his son-in-law obtaining a security clearance?
Though this week’s events on Capitol Hill confirmed that we may never solve what philosophers call the liar paradox, we can at least be sure that if it applies to one liar, it should apply to all.

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Judge Law and Legal Definition. A judge is a government official with authority to decide lawsuits brought before courts. The judge in a case decides questions of law, as well as questions of fact in a non-jury trial. … Judges are subject to certain ethical standards and have a duty to be impartial.
Judge Law and Legal Definition | USLegal, Inc.
https://definitions.uslegal.com/j/judge/.

The above definition is what we should ask of any person selected to serve on any court from local to federal. This has not been the case especially in this administration (as shown in the Kavanagh debacle). Our Judiciary is supposed to be impartial and not influenced by religion, race, gender or political affiliations. This has not been the case in many of the current administration’s selections for judgeships in lower Federal courts. The selections tens toward conservative right to ultra conservative right- this aided by Bitch McConnell’s control over the Senate with lap dog Lindsey yapping at the heels of Democrats. To be clear none- NONE of our Congressional members are without fault in this as each party has done their dirt when in power while ignoring the idea of  impartiality in Judges. If we as voters do not step up on who becomes judges we will end up with more poor court results and possibly laws that will harm us all. Currently the “conservatives” are attacking Planned parenthood with the results reducing Healthcare for women. This attack is pinpointing Abortion which is not the main business of Planned Parenthood. It is true that they (PP) do counsel regarding abortion but as a service to their clients. As an aside: why would Conservatives be so against abortion using religion as the reason when there are many unwanted children who are in need but these organizations are not supplying that need. To be against anything with no facts other than religious zeal is why we have such an assortment of religions that appear to say the same thing but are interpreted according to the hierarchy of the sect. There is (or should be) a separation of church and state, that line appears to be blurred for political reasons.

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When your actions are questionable, you tend to keep a low profile and hope no one notices your errant ways, right Mitch? MA.

By Tanya Snyder 10 hrs ago

The records also do not show how frequently Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has met with people from outside Kentucky, a state Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has represented in the Senate since 1985.
A trove of more than 800 pages of emails sheds new light on the working relationship between Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the most potent power couples in Washington — including their dealings with McConnell supporters from their home state of Kentucky.

Chao has met at least 10 times with politicians and business leaders from the state in response to requests from McConnell’s office, according to documents provided to POLITICO by the watchdog group American Oversight. In some cases, those people later received what they were hoping for from Chao’s department, including infrastructure grants, the designation of an interstate highway and assistance in getting state funds for a highway project — although the documents don’t indicate the meetings led to those outcomes.
The records also do not show how frequently Chao has met with people from outside Kentucky, a state her husband has represented in the Senate since 1985, or how readily she has responded to similar requests from other lawmakers. But at least a dozen of the emails show McConnell’s staff acting as a conduit between Chao and Kentucky political figures or business leaders, some of whom have had prior relationships with the couple.

In one email from Feb. 2, 2017, just days after Chao was sworn in, McConnell’s state director emailed a Chao lieutenant asking the secretary to meet with maritime industry lobbyist Jim Adams about proposed changes to “Buy American, Hire American” requirements for offshore drilling equipment. The lobbyist and his wife, a Kentucky state senator who used to work for McConnell, donated $1,500 to McConnell’s 2014 reelection campaign, according to FEC filings.
“The Secretary knows them both well,” McConnell state director Terry Carmack wrote to Todd Inman, who at the time was director of operations at the Department of Transportation. Chao met with the lobbyist the following month, according to her calendar.
Carmack also requested a meeting in April 2017 for Greg DeLancey, the general manager of Taylor Motors in Murray, Ky., a government contractor that provides bus services primarily to the Defense Department. Carmack wrote that DeLancey was “the Calloway county GOP chairman and about to be the first district GOP chair.” Chao met with someone from Taylor Motors in July 2017. When the McConnell staffer asked Inman to arrange a meeting for Jason Vincent and other people from the Pennyrile Area Development District during a March 2017 fly-in, he noted that some of the representatives were “friends.”
American Oversight obtained the emails under the Freedom of Information Act. The group’s executive director and founder, Austin Evers, said they show an unusually close relationship between a Senate leader and a member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet — and that “Secretary Chao built a political operation in her office to favor Kentucky.”
“We launched this investigation because we were intrigued by the president’s selection of Elaine Chao as Transportation secretary,” Evers said. “The media and political class identified it as a savvy move to hire the spouse of the majority leader of the Senate. We wanted to see what that relationship looked like.”
DOT said no such favoritism exists, and that any agency “would be responsive to the requests of the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate.”
Chao’s office treats “requests from Congress with serious consideration and is responsive to all members and their staff,” a spokesperson said. “She understands the needs of Kentucky, which is her home, and naturally has enjoyed a long friendship with many of the people who are also in contact with Senator McConnell’s office.”
When asked about the propriety of setting up meetings for constituents, a spokesperson for McConnell told POLITICO that “the Leader regularly advocates for Kentuckians with Members of the Cabinet and agencies of the federal government.”
“He has advocated on behalf of Kentuckians his entire career — and that includes both Republican and Democrat Administrations,” the spokesperson added.
At the very least, the emails offer a rare glimpse at the working relationship between Chao and McConnell, who aside from a few confrontations with protesters, typically maintain a low public profile about their interactions together. But other people familiar with the workings of DOT and Congress said they didn’t see anything unusual in a Cabinet secretary responding to requests from lawmakers.
A Democratic Senate aide said it’s common for members of Congress to contact DOT or other agencies on behalf of their constituents and that the department is responsive and accommodating to all.
“DOT will talk to anyone,” said the aide, who requested anonymity because of his ongoing dealings with the department. He said he doesn’t often ask Chao to take meetings because “people know they can pick up the phone and call DOT themselves,” but that on occasion he will “make an introduction.”
Former Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta, a Democrat who served under President George W. Bush, told POLITICO it “happened a lot” that lawmakers asked him to meet with constituents traveling to Washington, “and then you would meet with them.” Mineta said a request from a member of Congress would carry additional weight, regardless of what state that member was from.
“Of course you’re going to meet with people from your home state,” added a former DOT official from the Obama administration who asked to remain anonymous to speak candidly about the department she once worked for.
But Evers from American Oversight contended that in these emails, Chao’s staff appear to go out of their way to make McConnell’s Kentucky contacts “feel special.” In one March 2017 email to Inman, requesting a meeting between Chao and the group Kentuckians for Better Transportation, Carmack suggested that if Chao herself couldn’t make it, perhaps “an assistant secretary or 2” could. “That way it is not taking up the Secretary’s time but they feel special,” Carmack continued.
Inman had previously told Carmack that Chao’s office was planning to decline the meeting. But the meeting later appeared on Chao’s calendar for the following May 17.
A POLITICO review of two months of Chao’s calendar over her first 14 months in office doesn’t reveal a particular preference for Kentucky visitors — in more than 100 meetings and phone calls with people outside the executive branch, none had an apparent Kentucky connection.
Still, Evers highlighted two instances when DOT’s Inman instructed McConnell staffers to flag requests from Kentuckians for him in addition to sending them to Chao’s schedulers, “to make sure we take an extra look at” them.
“The Secretary has indicated if you have a [Kentucky] specific issue that we should flag for her attention to please continue to go through your normal channels but feel free to contact me directly as well so we can monitor or follow up as necessary,” Inman wrote to McConnell’s then-chief of staff, Brian McGuire, in an email from Feb. 28, 2017.
“There’s a normal channel and a Kentucky channel,” Evers said. “It would be surprising if there was also an Arizona channel and a California channel.”
And, on a tentative list of staff duties Inman shared with McConnell’s office soon after he started, “Kentucky” is listed as one of Inman’s responsibilities. No other state is included in any of the other 26 staffers’ list of duties.
Inman, who became Chao’s chief of staff last month, was a Republican political operative in Kentucky before joining DOT. He communicated frequently with McConnell staff for most of his first year in the job, until an assistant secretary for government affairs was confirmed.
The email cache is also sprinkled with instances of McConnell staffers referring to meeting-seekers’ personal ties to the couple and their status as GOP supporters.
In one email thread from March 2017, McConnell’s staff describes Hart County, Ky., Judge/Executive Terry Martin — the county’s top elected leader — as a “loyal supporter” and “friend.”
Chao met with Martin two weeks later and again a year later.
She met on March 20, 2017, with representatives from the Pennyrile Area Development District, who had gotten similar praise, and who were interested in discussing their long-running priority of redesignating the Breathitt-Pennyrile Parkway as Interstate 169. President Donald Trump signed a bill designating I-169, sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), into law in May 2017.
In another February 2017 email exchange, Carmack asked Inman to set up a meeting with two Kentucky county judge/executives who wanted to talk about bridge and highway problems in their counties. “Always value your input,” Inman responded.
Harlan County Judge/Executive Dan Mosley, who met in April 2017 with Chao about widening and improving a flood-prone stretch of U.S. 421,said in an interview with POLITICO that Chao was “one of the smartest people I’ve ever met” and that “her commitment to transportation issues” was evident in their meeting. After they met, a Federal Highway Administration official came to evaluate the project, and eventually the  state allocated  $800,000 to start the project, Mosley told POLITICO.
Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore, who asked for and, in June 2018, received a $68 million DOT grant for two interstate interchanges,said he met with Chao and asked for her support for the grant at his December 2017 meeting with her. Boone County had been seeking a federal grant for this since at least 2017.
Cooperation between the two offices goes in both directions, the emails indicate. In May 2017, a group of real estate company representatives and public officials from China enjoyed a Capitol tour organized jointly by Chao’s and McConnell’s offices. The group “was thrilled to get the VIP treatment by [McConnell’s] office and were particularly excited to hear that the leader’s office was normally off limits to normal guests,” said Melissa Fwu from Chao’s office, in an email to a McConnell aide.
Oversight groups aren’t just worried about the meetings Chao is granting, however. A new, previously unreleased report from the watchdog group Restore Public Trust questions the 2018 choice of a town of about 25,000 residents situated near the Tennessee, Ohio, Cumberland and Mississippi rivers, as the site of a new DOT maritime gateway office intended to help coordinate between port operators and government bodies to help improve freight movement on inland waterways.
Paducah is the smallest city to host one of DOT’s 10 maritime gateway offices. The nine other such offices are in major cities such as New York, Chicago and Miami.
“This is the kind of stuff the American public hates,” said Caroline Ciccone, executive director of Restore Public Trust, adding that a “prudent elected official” will avoid favoritism “not just because it looks bad, it’s because it is bad.”
But a DOT spokesperson who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the department chose Paducah because it’s “always been a natural hub for regional inland waterway traffic,” given its proximity to four major rivers and the presence of “more U.S.-flag inland waterway operators than anywhere else in the nation.” The low cost of living also made it attractive, the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said a strategic analysis, undertaken by the Maritime Administration in 2015, resulted in a decision to close one of two gateway offices in California in favor of one on the inland waterways to support the St. Louis office. Paducah was chosen out of five inland waterway locations that were evaluated.
Deb Calhoun, senior vice president of the Waterways Council, called Paducah “the epicenter of the inland marine industry.”
“Many of the major inland operators have offices in Paducah,” she told POLITICO. “There is a maritime training center. And each year, hundreds of inland marine related companies gather for an annual river industry awards event.”

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