The Pentagon's Office of Inspector General has launched an investigation into allegations that Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan violated ethics rules by promoting his former employer, Boeing, while serving in the Trump administration.
The watch group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed an ethics complaint last week claiming that Shanahan had appeared to promote Boeing and disparage former competitors such as Lockheed Martin in his statements.
One example listed in the complaint was the allegation that Shanahan pushed the Pentagon to buy more Boeing-made F-15X fighter jets over other fighter jets made by Boeing's competitors.
The Secretary's office issued a statement Wednesday asserting that "Shanahan welcomes the Inspector General's review."
"Acting Secretary Shanahan has at all times remained committed to upholding his ethics agreement filed with the DoD.This agreement ensures any matters pertaining to Boeing are handled by appropriate officials within the Pentagon to eliminate any perceived or actual conflict of interest issue(s) with Boeing," the statement read.
Shanahan served as deputy secretary of defense at the Pentagon after spending more than three decades at Boeing.
Replaces Jim Mattis
He stepped into the role of acting secretary of defense after former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned on Dec. 20, saying in his resignation letter that President Donald Trump had the "right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned" with his.
The president decided to replace Mattis before his expected resignation date, tapping Shanahan to take the post as of Jan. 1, 2019.
Shanahan has had to repel questions about potential conflicts of interest since taking office.
Last week, he told Congress he welcomed any such investigation into his actions at the Pentagon. In January, he called claims of favoritism "just noise."