The Pentagon's Office of the Inspector General has opened an investigation into allegations of alleged ethics violations against Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.
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In a statement released Wednesday, the Office of the Inspector General of the Ministry of Defense said it recently received a complaint that Shanahan "has taken steps to promote his former employer, Boeing, and denigrate his competitors, in violation alleged rules of ethics ".
Shanahan worked for Boeing for 31 years, holding the last position of executive vice president of supply chain operations.
In a separate statement, the Pentagon said Wednesday that Shanahan "is still committed to upholding his agreement on ethics filed with the DoD".
"This agreement ensures that all matters relating to Boeing are handled by the relevant Pentagon authorities in order to eliminate any perceived or actual conflict of interest with Boeing," the statement added.
The complaint was filed with the Pentagon's Office of the Inspector General last week by the Citizen's Monitoring Group for Accountability and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
CREW cited information that Shanahan privately promoted Boeing in discussions of government contracts, deniging defense industry competitors such as Lockheed Martin.
Asked by Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., On CREW's complaint, Shanahan told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that he would welcome the investigation.
During his transition to the Pentagon as the Defense Secretary's deputy of the time, James Mattis, in 2017, Shanahan declared that he had given up his financial interests related to Boeing and had signed an agreement of ethics prohibiting him from participating in Boeing-related activities, as government officials usually do. private sector transition.
"For the duration, if I am confirmed, I will not deal with any Boeing case unless the Ethics Office approves it," Shanahan told the Senate Armed Services Committee at of his confirmation hearing on June 20, 2017. put in place mechanisms for that my calendar, meetings in which I will participate, that we can filter to make sure that there is no question related to Boeing to which I will be exposed to. "
Earlier this month, American Oversight, a liberal watchdog group founded by former Obama administration officials, filed a lawsuit against Shanahan, alleging that his relations with Boeing "had given society undue influence ". The group accused the Pentagon of failing to respond to four requests for information related to these links under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
"We are aware of the FOIA request made by American Oversight and we are responding well," Shanahan spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Buccino said at the time. "Secretary Shanahan has always been keen to respect her ethics agreement, which includes a screening process to ensure that Boeing matters are referred to another DoD officer."
Boeing turned down a request for comment from ABC News regarding the lawsuit filed by American Oversight.
According to rumors, Shanahan could be a candidate for the appointment of President Donald Trump as the next Secretary of Defense. The president paid tribute to Shanahan's performance during a visit Wednesday to an Abrams tank facility in Lima, Ohio. Shanahan, accompanied by Secretary of the Armed Forces Mark Esper, accompanied the President on this trip.