Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, responsible for alleged bias of Boeing

The Pentagon inspector general is investigating acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan, who is accused of showing favoritism towards Boeing, the company he worked for 30 years before joining the Trump administration.

"The Office of the Inspector General of the Ministry of Defense has decided to investigate the complaints we recently received that Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan has taken steps to promote his former employer, Boeing, and denigrate its competitors, in supposedly violating the rules of ethics, "said spokeswoman for the IG, Dwrena Allen said in a statement.

"In his recent testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Acting Secretary Shanahan said that he supports an investigation into these allegations," she said. "We informed him that we had opened this investigation."

Politico reported in January that Shanahan had ridiculed Boeing's competitor, Lockheed Martin, while he was deputy secretary of defense at meetings at the Pentagon. Shanahan was quoted as saying that Lockheed Martin's F-35 program was "screwed up" and that Lockheed Martin "did not know how to run a program".

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Shanahan, who in an agreement on ethics, has promised to recuse himself from some Boeing-related cases, dismissed the allegations of misconduct.

Earlier this month, the Citizen's Liability and Ethics Monitoring Group in Washington filed a complaint asking the Pentagon Inspector General to investigate Shanahan's conduct.

"We do not know if Shanahan was directly involved in Boeing's decisions, but even the appearance of bias raises serious concerns and potential violations of ethics," said CREW's executive director, Noah Bookbinder, in a statement. "It is imperative that the Office of the Inspector General fully investigate the conduct of Shanahan."

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