FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 8, 2019
Contact: Ryan Aquilina
Ditch Mitch Fund Putting Nearly $500,000 Behind New TV Ad Exposing McConnell for Getting Rich Shipping Foreign Coal
Ad tells the real “Cocaine Mitch” story: How Mitch McConnell and his wife’s family got millions of dollars shipping foreign coal in direct competition with Kentucky coal
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Ditch Mitch Fund began airing a new TV ad in Kentucky against Mitch McConnell that tells the real story behind “Cocaine Mitch.”
The ad features a Colombian man wearing a “Cocaine Mitch” t-shirt like the ones McConnell’s campaign sells on their official website, saying, “Mitch McConnell thought it was funny to sell t-shirts like this after cocaine was found here on a cargo ship owned by his wife’s family. But it’s Colombia, not Kentucky, that’s laughing — because thousands of tons of Colombian coal were on that ship, too.”
The Colombian man then reveals what is sure to make every suffering Kentucky coal miner’s blood boil: “With help from Mitch’s family, we now produce more than twice as much coal as Kentucky. Mitch got millions, while Kentucky coal miners lose out to foreign competitors like us.”
“Muchas gracias, senador,” he says in Spanish as the ad ends.
The Ditch Mitch Fund is putting nearly $500,000 behind the ad on the heels of a major Democratic victory in the state earlier this week. The ad was shot entirely in Colombia, South America — one of the several countries from which Elaine Chao’s family’s shipping company has made millions of dollars by transporting foreign coal.
“Mitch McConnell has claimed for years that he is fighting against the ‘War on Coal.’ But in reality, he’s been personally profiting off of it,” said Ryan Aquilina, Executive Director of the Ditch Mitch Fund. “While Kentucky coal miners have suffered, McConnell has gotten rich shipping foreign coal in direct competition with Kentucky coal. Mitch McConnell isn’t fighting for Kentucky or its coal miners — he’s only looking out for himself and his special interest donors.”
Mitch McConnell’s in-laws own the massive dry bulk shipping company, Foremost Group, which transports dry goods like coal, iron, and agricultural products to and from Colombia, Australia, India, China, and other countries. According to Forbes, “Foremost has the most valuable fleet of any dry bulk shipper in the United States.”
Elaine Chao and Mitch McConnell married in 1993, but she and her family have been making campaign contributions and personal gifts to Mitch using the money they’ve made shipping foreign coal since 1989. According to The New York Times, “In the 30 years since, 13 members of the extended Chao family have given a total of more than $1 million to Mr. McConnell’s campaigns and to political action committees tied to him. In 2008, James Chao gave the couple a gift of as much as $25 million, vaulting Mr. McConnell into the ranks of the richest senators.”
The Ditch Mitch Fund, started in October 2018, is a grassroots-funded organization that is solely dedicated to holding Mitch McConnell accountable, supporting his Democratic opponent, and defeating McConnell once and for all in 2020. To date, the Ditch Mitch Fund has raised over $4.8 million with an average gift of $23.
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