U.S. declined to prosecute Trump transport chief after inspector general review

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao speaks during a press conference on the One National Program Rule on federal preemption of state fuel economy standards at EPA Headquarters in Washington, U.S., September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger/

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department declined to prosecute then-Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao after the inspector general’s office referred allegations of potential misuse of office for review, a report made public on Wednesday said.

The report included allegations that Chao directed staff to research or purchase personal items for her online using her personal credit card.

In December, the inspector general’s office referred its findings to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for criminal prosecution, which declined to open a criminal investigation.

The inspector general’s report added prosecutors said “there may be ethical and/or administrative issues to address but there is not predication to open a criminal investigation.”

Chao could not immediately be reached for comment.

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