This just in from Nation Washington Intern Te-Ping Chen:
There have been so many egregious dealings emerging out of Bush’s cabinet — the rancid workings of former Interior Secretary, allegations of Thomas White’s insider trading — that perhaps it’s not surprising that the tracings of one cabinet member, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, have gone under-scrutinized.
But no longer, advocates say. With one year left of the beleaguered Bush Administration, American Rights at Work is hustling to shine light on Chao’s record.
A former Bush Pioneer who served on thirteen corporate boards before assuming the role of Secretary of Labor, Chao has overseen some of the Department of Labor’s more offensive hires, including Edwin Foulke, Jr., Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health — the former partner of Jackson Lewis, a law firm perhaps best known for its union-busting and trainings on How to Stay Union-Free.
She’s also campaigned tirelessly along with her husband, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) against the Employee Free Choice Act, worked to roll back mine provision safety, and hired several of her husband’s former aides to her staff.
"Elaine Chao’s family connections and corporate ties have transformed the Department of Labor into the ‘Department of Business,’" said Mary Beth Maxwell, American Rights at Work’s executive director.
But this morning, with the launch of their new website attacking the Secretary of Labor — the only original member of Bush’s cabinet — Elaine Chao’s "long honeymoon," says Maxwell, is over.
Among the more comic gems the Web site highlights:
The Labor Secretary’s megalomania: at a mine rescue contest in 2003, Chao handed out gold-colored coins, the size of a half-dollar with Chao’s bas relief at the center. Since then, Chao has lined the executive offices of the Labor Department’s headquarters with 58 pictures of herself and gone on to distribute lanyards and fleece blankets embroidered with her name.
Meanwhile in February 2006, Sen. McConnell earmarked $14.2 million for his lady-love to support the christening of a library wing at the University of Louisville, to be named in honor of Elaine (who never attended the university).
All paid for by America’s workers.