Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is under investigation by the department’s inspector general amid allegations that he violated ethics rules by using his position to promote his former employer, Boeing.
The inspector general said in a statement Wednesday that Shanahan is under investigation for allegedly promoting Boeing, where he worked for nearly three decades before joining the Defense Department.
“The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General has decided to investigate complaints we recently received that Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan allegedly took actions to promote his former employer, Boeing, and disparage its competitors, allegedly in violation of ethics rules,” the statement said.
Shanahan has denied the allegations, which relate to his time as former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ top deputy. Shanahan has served as acting defense chief since Mattis stepped down last year.
Shanahan accused of promoting Boeing, disparaging competitors:
The investigation comes after the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) accused Shanahan in a letter to the inspector general of having made “numerous statements promoting his former employer Boeing and has disparaged the company’s competitors before subordinates at the agency,” The Washington Post reported.
CREW cited news reports saying Shanahan criticized top Boeing competitor Lockheed Martin and urged the Pentagon to buy more of Boeing’s F-15X fighter jets despite the Air Force’s opposition.
“In the Pentagon’s budget request to Congress this month, the Air Force proposed buying eight upgraded versions of the F-15, which would mark the first time it has bought the plane since 2001. Pentagon plans call for additional purchases of the aircraft in coming years,” The Post reported.
Shanahan signed pledge to avoid Boeing matters:
Shanahan signed an ethics agreement that required another Defense Department official to handle any matters related to Boeing to avoid any conflict of interest, Politico reported.
Shanahan’s spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Buccino insisted that the acting secretary has complied with the pledge.
"Acting Secretary Shanahan has at all times remained committed to upholding his ethics agreement filed with the DoD," he told the outlet. "This agreement ensures any matters pertaining to Boeing are handled by appropriate officials within the Pentagon to eliminate any perceived or actual conflict of interest issue with Boeing."
"This agreement ensures any matters pertaining to Boeing are handled by appropriate officials within the Pentagon to eliminate any perceived or actual conflict of interest issue with Boeing."