Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and his wife saw the value of their stocks, cash and other investments climb last year, cementing his status as one of the wealthiest U.S. senators, his new financial disclosure report shows. But the source of his riches — via his wife Elaine Chao‘s immigrant father — also demonstrates the fine line the senate majority leader must walk in supporting the GOP’s presumptive White House nominee: Donald Trump.
Senators make the finance reports public each year, valuing investments according to a predetermined range. In 2015, his portfolio was worth $9.6 million to $43.2 million, according to a new Boulevard analysis. On the low side, that was a 2% increase from 2014. On the high side: a whopping 23%.
The vast majority of McConnell’s wealth is held by his economist wife, Chao (photo with senator, top), whose father made a shipping trade fortune. Chao, 63, was U.S. labor secretary during the George W. Bush Administration.
Boulevard examined the senator’s latest report, filed May 16, to arrive at his 2015 estimates. The midpoint of their values would be $26.4 million vs. $22.2 million in 2014, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan watchdog group in Washington that tracks political campaign finance. The center hasn’t published estimates for 2015 yet.
But in 2014, it ranked McConnell the 11th richest senator. No. 1: Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, with an average net worth of $243 million — a fortune he built investing in telecommunications. Here are the 25 richest.
Tripping over Trump
Chao’s parents fled to Taiwan from mainland China when the Chinese Communists seized power in 1949, according to Wikipedia. In 1961, when she was eight years old, Chao immigrated to the U.S. on a freighter with her mother and two younger sisters. Her father had arrived in New York three years earlier after receiving a scholarship. He later went on to launch shipper Foremost Group.
McConnell has offered tepid support to Trump at best, citing his inflammatory anti-immigration postures. In an interview with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric Tuesday, McConnell said the New York billionaire’s proposals could threaten the GOP’s standing with immigrant voters. “America is changing,” he told Couric, “the Republican Party clearly doesn’t need to write off either Asian or Latino Americans, and that is not a good place to be for long-term competitiveness.”