By: Nick Visser for Huffpost, Mar. 21, 2019
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is under investigation by the Pentagon’s inspector general over ties to his former employer, the aerospace juggernaut Boeing.
The Defense Department said Wednesday it had opened an ethics investigation into complaints that allege Shanahan regularly touted Boeing over other defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin, while serving in an official government capacity. Politico first reported about the remarks in January, which allegedly included episodes when Shanahan said Lockheed Martin’s contract over the $1 trillion F-35 fighter jet program was “fucked up.”
“He would complain about Lockheed’s timing and their inability to deliver, and from a Boeing point of view, say things like, ‘We would never do that,’” a former Trump administration official told Politico at the time.
Shanahan worked at Boeing for more than 30 years before he was brought on as the deputy defense secretary in 2017. He was named as the department’s acting chief in December after former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned in protest after Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
The Politico report prompted the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to file a complaint with the Pentagon’s inspector general earlier this month. The group said it worried Shanahan had violated ethics rules, saying any favoritism toward Boeing could be a use of his public office for private gain.