Secretary Chao calls reports on alleged unethical ties to her family business "partisan attacks"

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is being accused of a conflict of interest with her family’s business. In her cabinet role, Chao is the top U.S. official overseeing the Maritime Administration.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao's family owns the Foremost Group, a New York-based shipping company. (Source: Gray DC)

"These are old, tired, political, partisan attacks against my family and me," said Secretary Chao in a sit-down interview with Gray Television's Washington Bureau.

Chao’s family owns the Foremost Group, a New York-based American shipping company, that, according to the secretary's sister, Angela Chao, chairwoman and chief executive of Foremost, receives some financing from the Export-Import Bank of China and works with a Chinese charterer. Secretary Chao has not officially worked for the company since the 1970s, but has made various public appearances alongside her relatives.

"As the Secretary of Transportation, we have no overlap with the family business," said Chao.

Since entering her most recent position with the Trump administration, Chao has participated in photoshoots, awards ceremonies, interviews with Chinese-language media. Chao says she takes issue with a recent report from the New York Times highlighting possible ethics violations.

"They came up with nothing. And so, it was clearly a hit job," said Chao. "We did nothing wrong...ultimately the truth will prevail."

The Department of Transportation added in a written statement, "The Foremost Company does no business with the U.S. government and does not receive any U.S. government financing. Foremost does not engage in US Flagged shipping."

Watch the one-on-one sit down interview above.

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