Elaine Chao, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for transportation secretary, will have her Senate confirmation hearing next week.
Chao is a veteran of the George W. Bush administration, having served as secretary of Labor for the 43rd president. Prior to that, she was the deputy secretary of Transportation under President George H.W. Bush. Chao is a relatively uncontroversial pick who will likely face no issues being approved on Wednesday; her hearing is scheduled for 10:15 a.m Eastern Time.
Chao comes from a wealthy family, and she is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel. Here’s what you need to know about her wealth.
1. Her Net Worth Is $24 Million
According to Forbes, Elaine Chao has a net worth of approximately $24 million.
This makes her the seventh wealthiest person in the Donald Trump cabinet. Ahead of her are: Wilbur Ross, who is worth $2.5 billion; Betsy DeVos, who is worth $1.25 billion; Rex Tillerson, who is worth $325 million; Steve Mnuchin, who is worth $300 million; Andy Puzder, who is worth $45 million; and Ben Carson, who is worth $29 million.
Donald Trump’s cabinet has a collective net worth of $4.5 billion. At a rally in December, Donald Trump defended his selection of extraordinarily wealthy people to serve in his cabinet, saying, “I want people that made a fortune! Because now they’re negotiating with you, ok?”
2. She Made $1.2 Million From Wells Fargo
Chao left Washington in 2009, finishing off an eight-year stint as United States Secretary of Labor. In 2011, she became a board member at Wells Fargo.
Between 2011 and 2015, Chao made approximately $1.2 million from Wells Fargo, according to CNN.
While with Wells Fargo, Chao was responsible for monitoring the bank’s management and making staff changes. Wells Fargo Chairman Steve Sanger told CNN that she has been “deeply involved in the Board’s efforts to address and remedy retail sales practice issues.”
Since leaving the White House, Chao has served on the boards of News Corp, Ingersoll-Rand, and Vulcan Materials.
3. She’s Married to Mitch McConnell, Whose Net Worth is $22.8 million
Elaine Chao’s husband is Mitch McConnell, the current United States Senate Majority Leader.
According to The Washington Post, McConnell’s net worth is $22.8 million. That net worth is significantly higher than it was in 2004; that year, McConnell’s net worth was $3.1 million.
This is because in 2008, McConnell received an inheritance from Elaine Chao’s mother, Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, who died that year. This inheritance is valued at between $5 million and $25 million.
4. Her Father is James S.C. Chao, a Wealthy Businessman
Elaine Chao comes from a wealthy family, as her father, James S.C. Chao, is a businessman who founded a shipping company in New York City called Foremost Group.
James Chao’s exact net worth is not known, but in 2012, Chao and his family donated $40 million to the Havard Business School.
According to The Nation, Chao family members and Foremost Group employees have donated $90,000 to Mitch McConnel over the years.
5. Her Brother-in-law’s Net Worth is $2.6 Billion
Elaine Chao has five sisters: Angela Chao, Jeanette Chao, Christine Chao, May Chao and Grace Chao.
Her sister Angela is married to Jim Breyer, a venture capitalist and founder of the investment firm Breyer Capital. He is also a partner at Accel Partners, a venture capital firm, and he has investments in dozens of major companies including Facebook.
According to Forbes, Breyer’s net worth is $2.6 billion, which makes him the 722th richest person on Earth.