By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The Pentagon's inspector general is investigating acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan over alleged bias in favor of the aerospace defense contractor he once worked for, according to multiple reports Wednesday.
Spokeswoman Dwrena K. Allen said in a widely-reported statement that Shanahan has been informed of the probe, which is examining whether he used his office to unfairly promote Boeing.
The investigation comes on the heels of a watchdog's request that the inspector general take up the matter following a report by Politico that Shanahan disparaged Boeing competitors including Lockheed Martin, and touted his former company in official meetings while he was deputy secretary of defense.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, sent a letter to the Pentagon's inspector general last week, saying Shanahan's actions raise questions surrounding the Pentagon's standards of conduct, as well as an ethics pledge he signed upon assuming office.
"Federal law prohibits Acting Secretary Shanahan from using his office for the private gain of others," the watchdog wrote. "Mr. Shanahan’s reported conduct and comments appear to violate federal regulations and his Ethics Pledge, and CREW therefore requests that you investigate his alleged conduct."
Shanahan worked for Boeing for more than three decades, eventually rising to become a top executive before he joined the Pentagon.
He is currently under consideration to permanently replace former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who resigned his post in December over policy differences with President Donald Trump.