Elaine Chao, US Transport Minister, speaks at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Minister of Transport Elaine Chao has held his shares in Vulcan Materials, a construction company she promised to divest more than a year earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
Vulcan, USA & # 39; The largest supplier of sand and gravel used for paving and building, has seen its share price rise more than 1
Chao's shares have risen in value by more than $ 40,000 since the month she said they would dispose of them, the Journal reported, and quoted corporate and government applications.
Chao received a payment on the shares, which is now valued at nearly $ 400,000 in April 2018 as deferred compensation for the time she spent on the company's board before being confirmed to President Donald Trump's Cabinet, the Vulcan newspaper reported.
"I will receive a cash payout for all of my established deferred shares in April of the year following the year in which I separate myself from the service," Chao said in his January 2017 agreement.
A transport department spokesman told Journal that the agreement she signed was defective because it did not take into account Vulcan's policy, whereby the deferred shares of the board were to be paid out in shares in the company portfolio. The language of the ethical agreement signed by Chao "clarified to avoid confusion," said the spokesman to the Journal.
In the agreement, Chao promised that "until I receive cash payment of my established deferred shares, I will not personally and significantly participate in any particular subject which, in my knowledge, has a direct and predictable effect on the financial interests of Vulcan Materials" without waiver.
Department's chief ethics officer found out that Chao's continued ownership of the Vulcan stock "presents no conflict of interest," a transport department head told CNBC.
But former heads of government, Walter Shaub, told the journal that Chao, whose department is monitoring US transport and infrastructure responsibility, should strive to avoid even the appearance of a potential conflict.
"For the head of DOT to have a financial interest in an asphalt company, it doesn't send a message to the DOT employees that she puts ethics a priority," Shaub told Journal.
Neither the transport departments' ethics office nor Vulcan responded promptly to CNBC's remarks on the Journal's report.
Read the full report from The Wall Street Journal