The Protection Division Workplace of Inspector Normal stated Wednesday that it had opened an investigation into whether or not performing Secretary Patrick Shanahan had used his place to improperly promote his former employer, Boeing.

The investigation comes after the nonprofit Residents for Accountability and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a grievance with the watchdog’s workplace final week, alleging that Shanahan appeared to make statements selling Boeing and disparaging opponents, resembling Lockheed Martin.

Pentagon spokesman Tom Crosson stated in an announcement that Shanahan welcomes the evaluate.

“Appearing Secretary Shanahan has always remained dedicated to upholding his ethics settlement filed with the DoD,” stated Crosson. “This settlement ensures any issues pertaining to Boeing are dealt with by acceptable officers throughout the Pentagon to remove any perceived or precise battle of curiosity difficulty(s) with Boeing.”

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Shanahan, 56, joined Boeing in 1986 and spent greater than 30 years there earlier than Trump nominated him as deputy secretary of protection in March 2017. Shanahan grew to become performing protection secretary in the beginning of this yr following the resignation of James Mattis.

Shanahan signed an ethics settlement in June 2017 that outlined the steps he would take to keep away from “any precise or obvious battle of curiosity,” and stated he wouldn’t take part in any matter involving Boeing.

The grievance, primarily based to a big half on printed stories, together with one by Politico in January, stated Shanahan has made feedback praising Boeing in conferences about authorities contracts, elevating considerations about “whether or not Shanahan, deliberately or not, is placing his finger on the size on the subject of Pentagon priorities.”

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One instance raised by the grievance is the Pentagon’s determination to request funding for Boeing 15EX fighter jets within the 2020 proposed funds. The Pentagon is requesting about $1 billion to purchase eight of the plane.

Whereas at Boeing, Shanahan led the corporate’s missile protection and navy helicopter packages and is credited with rescuing the troubled Dreamliner 787 program. Trump has appeared interested in Shanahan partially for his work on one of many president’s pet initiatives — making a Area Pressure.

He has additionally lauded Shanahan’s former employer, Boeing, builder of lots of the navy’s most outstanding plane, together with the Apache and Chinook helicopters, the C-17 cargo aircraft and the B-52 bomber, in addition to the enduring presidential plane, Air Pressure One.

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The probe comes as Boeing struggles to take care of a public firestorm over troubles with its Boeing 737 Max eight jetliner. And it focuses consideration on whether or not Trump will nominate Shanahan as his formal decide for protection chief, slightly than letting him languish as an performing chief of a serious federal company.

That is solely the third time in historical past that the Pentagon has been led by an performing chief, and Shanahan has served in that capability for 85 days, longer than any of the others. Invoice Clements served as performing protection secretary for 39 days in 1973, whereas William Howard Taft IV spent 66 days within the job in 1989.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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