McConnell’s wife leaves board over coal issues

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife has resigned from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ board of directors after the charity announced plans to expand its efforts to shutter coal-fired power plants.

Elaine Chao joined the board one year after it announced a $50 million, four-year commitment to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal initiative. Alison Lundergan Grimes made Chao’s membership on the board an issue during her failed bid to unseat McConnell last year.

At the time, McConnell defended his wife’s position on the board and said she would not resign. But a McConnell spokesman said Wednesday Chao decided to resign after learning the charity planned to expand its Beyond Coal commitment, saying her service on the board was incompatible with her commitments to Kentucky.

About 90 percent of Kentucky’s electricity comes from coal-fired power plants.

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