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Chao Steps Down From Bloomberg Charity Over Coal Issue

Alix Mattingly

Elaine Chao has resigned from the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies as the foundation revs up its commitment to its clean energy initiative.

Chao was Secretary of Labor in President George W. Bush’s cabinet and is also the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. She stepped down from the board Wednesday after the philanthropic  group announced $48 million in clean energy grants.

McConnell defended his wife’s position on the board during Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race last year.
His opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, and others had characterized Chao’s role with Bloomberg as a weakness in McConnell’s claim to be a pro-coal candidate.

A statement from Sen. McConnell’s office described Chao’s decision to resign as a “respectful parting of the ways,” saying her service on the board was ‘incompatible with her commitments to Kentucky and its people, particularly coal miners and their families.”