If you wonder why the Clinton “Chinagate” scandal didn’t rise to the magnitude of “Monica-gate,” the nomination of Elaine Chao as secretary of labor may provide part of the answer.

So far, no one on either the Democratic or Republican side of the Senate aisle seems at all concerned about her selection.

The choice by Bush — following Linda Chavez’s withdrawal as a nominee — is being hailed, according to the Associated Press, “by business groups, and labor organizations,” who “appeared ready to give her the benefit of the doubt.”

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said Chao “has worked with the labor movement and has experience in government, in the private sector and in public service.”

Her confirmation hearings are scheduled to take place before Sen. Edward Kennedy’s Health, Education and Labor Committee.

It’s doubtful, unless that committee hears from the public, that there will be any tough questioning of the nominee. And that is tragic.

Given the scrutiny Sen. John Ashcroft got from the Senate Judiciary Committee, you might think someone with Chao’s ties to the totalitarian government of China would undergo the toughest grilling.

Here’s the record as laid out by WorldNetDaily last week in four exclusive reports:

  • Chao and her father have extensive personal ties to China’s president Jiang Zemin — contact described as “regular” and “deep.”

  • Chao reportedly characterized as “racist” a May 1999 report on Chinese espionage released by a select committee chaired by Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif.

  • A Heritage Foundation military analyst who sounded warnings about Chinese threats to U.S. security was reportedly shown the door after Chao complained about his policy writings.

  • Chao would have top-secret security clearance as labor secretary.

  • Chao’s father owns a shipping company that does business with China.

  • One of Chao’s patrons has been Heritage Foundation donor Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, a pro-China lobbyist whose insurance company does business with China.

  • Greenberg has threatened to cut off funding to Heritage over position papers critical of China.

  • Greenberg has also donated thousands of dollars to Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Chao’s husband.

  • Greenberg was behind the massive multimillion dollar ad blitz drumming up support for last year’s trade bill with China.

  • Greenberg is said to be Henry Kissinger’s “money bags.” Kissinger has gotten rich in recent years as a paid consultant to U.S. companies seeking to do business with China.

  • Chao serves as director of an insurance company that jointly owns a Lippo Group subsidiary with the Chinese government. Lippo is controlled by the Riady family and is at the center of the Chinagate fund-raising scandal.

  • McConnell has received a steady stream of campaign contributions from Lippo partner American International Group, chaired by Greenberg.

  • McConnell has been China’s biggest Republic booster in the Senate and the staunchest opponent of campaign fund-raising reforms.

  • Chao sought out John Huang to help raise money for Republican senators in 1989.

  • In 1993, Huang, then head of Lippo Bank, rounded up a coalition of Chinese banks and individuals to sponsor Chao’s visit to Los Angeles as the new head of United Way.

  • Huang gave McConnell $2,000 in illegal donations as part of a foreign money-laundering scheme — one of only two contributions Huang made to Republicans.

  • Chao has criticized the prosecution of Huang as racially motivated.

    And, perhaps most important of all, respected Chinese dissident Harry Wu told WorldNetDaily last week that he is “very surprised” about the Chao nomination.

    Chinagate — literally the selling out of American interests for political cash — is, we can now see clearly, a bipartisan scandal. Sure, President Clinton and the Democrats got the lion’s share of money from China and its tentacles in the U.S. But there has been enough money to buy off seemingly stalwart elements of the Republican and “conservative” establishments.

    The Chao nomination illustrates these payoffs and the way they work.

    Is there anything that can be done? Well, it’s up to you. You can contact members of the U.S. Senate, especially members of the Health, Education and Labor Committee, and make your concerns known. It might help to send copies of these WorldNetDaily reports — found below:

    Chao’s ties to Jiang

    Pro-China coup at Heritage

    Chao’s ties to Lippo

    Harry Wu’s concerns about Chao

  • Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.