WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s Inspector General has cleared Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan of allegations that he promoted the interest of Boeing, his former employer — clearing the way for his possible nomination for the top civilian defense position.
“The evidence showed that Acting Secretary Shanahan fully complied with his ethical obligations and ethical agreements with regard to Boeing and its competitors,” Glenn Fine, the IG official who ran the examination, said Thursday in a statement.
Fine said the investigation “did not substantiate any of the allegations and determined that Acting Secretary Shanahan fully complied with his ethical obligations and agreements regarding Boeing and its competitors,” according to the statement.
The allegations were raised in a complaint filed in March by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a federal watchdog organization. CREW maintained that Shanahan favored Boeing in word and deed all while he “disparaged the company’s competitors to his subordinates,’ according to the complaint.
Th IG also received allegations from a Senate Committee on Armed Services attorney and from the staff of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), both in February, according to the report.
Fine said the IG office “took these allegations seriously” with more than 30 individuals, including Shanahan, interviewed in the examination.” “I thought of him as part of my ethical standard bearer the way he carried out his duties on a whole host of issues,” former Defense Secretary James Mattis told the IG. “I always saw him as part of my solution when it came to ethical endurance.”
The results were made public in a 43-page report.
“While Mr. Shanahan did routinely refer to his prior industry experience in meetings, witnesses interpreted it, and told us, that he was doing it to describe his experience and to improve Government management of DoD programs, rather than to promote Boeing or its product,” the report said.
Trump administration and Pentagon officials have said on background that Shanahan could not and would not be nominated to be defense secretary until the IG probe was concluded and he was cleared. Shanahan also acknowledged that political reality.
Shanahan became deputy defense secretary in the summer of 2017 and became acting defense secretary in January after Mattis resigned. Shanahan had worked at Boeing for three decades.