- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Defense Department’s inspector general has formally opened an investigation into allegations that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan lobbied for defense giant Boeing, his former employer, after coming to work at the Pentagon in 2017.

The allegations were first brought to the Pentagon Inspector General’s office by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) earlier this month. The group claims that Mr. Shanahan violated ethical rules by advocating for Boeing in competitions for major defense projects.

On Wednesday, officials from the Inspector General’s office announced it would be opening an investigation into the allegations.

“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,” according to a department statement. “We have informed him that we have initiated this investigation” and Mr. Shanahan has publicly stated he supported the office’s inquiry, the officials added.

Rhode Island Democrat Sen. Jack Reed, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, demanded the public release of any reports or recommendations resulting from the probe.

“This is a serious matter. The investigation must be conducted in a thorough, deliberate manner and the results should be made public,” he said in a statement issued Wednesday.

“This administration has a history of trying to thwart reviews of potential misconduct and ethics violations,” he added, noting his intent to ensure the pending investigation “will proceed in a timely manner.”

Before coming to the Pentagon, Mr. Shanahan worked as a senior executive for Boeing. He has recused himself from any and all business dealings between the Pentagon and Boeing.

Mr. Shanahan has honored that recusal both as deputy and acting secretary, spokesman Lt. Col Joe Buccino said in a statement.

“Acting Secretary Shanahan has at all times remained committed to upholding his ethics agreement filed with the [department],” Lt. Col. Buccino said in an email to the Washington Times.

On Monday, Mr. Shanahan declined to comment on whether the Pentagon would pursue a formal investigation into the charges laid out by CREW.

“I have not heard anything exclusively on that,” he told reporters.

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