The Herald-Leader investigates U.S. Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, whose campaign fundraising has reached impressive levels to the tune of $220 million, largely on behalf of fellow Republican senators. As the 2006 mid-term elections approached, McConnell was seen as a likely contender for Senate Majority leader, should the Republicans retain control (they did not, and he is now Senate Minority Leader). Anticipating this news, the Herald-Leader "examined McConnell's 22-year record of aggressive fundraising, cozy ties with top donors and related actions in the Senate." The newspaper found that McConnell benefited from his "influence over a little-known foreign aid committee; his marriage to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, who regulates his corporate donors; and a former McConnell chief of staff turned Washington "gatekeeper lobbyist," whose clients tend to receive appropriations earmarks and helpful legislation from McConnell." McConnell has gained a reputation as an opponent of campaign-finance reform.