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Transport Secy Chao allegedly kept construction co. Pfahl promised to sell them

Elaine Chao, US Secretary of Transportation, speaks at the Milken Institute global conference in Beverly Hills, California.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has held her stake in Vulcan Materials, a construction company she had promised to sell more than a year ago, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Vulcan, USA. Chao, the largest supplier of sand and gravel for paving and construction, has seen its share price rise more than 1

2% since April 2018. According to a 2017 government ethics agreement, she would pay off her shares.

Chaos Shares Have Risen by more than $ 40,000 since the month in which she said she would sell them, the Journal reported, citing corporate and government records.

Chao Received Almost $ 400,000 in Shares in April 2018 Vulcan told the newspaper that she had received deferred compensation for the time she spent on the company's board of directors before she was confirmed to the Cabinet of President Donald Trump.

"I will receive a cash payment for all of my vested deferred storage units in April of the year following the year of my separation from service," Chao said in her January 2017 ethics agreement.

A transportation spokesman told the journal the agreement she signed was flawed because she did not consider Vulcan's policy that the deferred shares of the directors should be paid out in company stock. The language of the ethical agreement signed by Chao "is currently being clarified to avoid confusion," the spokesman told the Journal.

Chao promised in this agreement: "Until I receive the cash payment of my vested deferred share units, I will not personally and in content participate in any particular matter that, to my knowledge, has a direct and predictable impact on the financial interests of Vulcan Materials," without waiver.

The department's top ethics officer noted that Chaos's continued ownership of Vulcan stock "is not a conflict of interest," a transportation department official told CNBC.

The former director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, however, told the Journal that Chao, whose department oversees US transport and infrastructure responsibilities, should try to avoid even the appearance of a possible conflict.

"For the head of the DOT to have a financial interest in an asphalt company and not to tell DOT employees that they prioritize ethics," Shaub told the Journal.

Neither the Transport Department Ethics Bureau Vulcan also did not immediately respond to CNBC's request to comment on the Journal's report.

Read the full story in the Wall Street Journal.

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