Boeing, Boeing, Gone

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It’s typical Washington sleaze. Boeing was allowed to bid on a contract (worth hundreds of billions, as usual) to build flying refueling tankers, even though its bribes had been exposed earlier in the bidding process. Business as usual, I suppose, just don’t mention that corrupt crowd behind the curtain – the one that inflated the cost by 27 **billion** so that plenty of walkaround money would be available for all the DC neocon slush funds.

Unfortunately, only one low-level DoD procurement officer went to jail, and Boeing’s chairman was fired (not for the bribes, but for the bad publicity). Everybody else just stayed in the trough – and Boeing keeps it well watered.

One especially noxious DC neocon heads a “nonprofit” that has received millions from Boeing. He wrote endless op-eds advocating the corrupt deal before the bribes were publicly exposed. I wrote him: “Why don’t you ever mention your Boeing income in your byline?” No response, natch: being a neocon means never having to say you’re sorry.

As our dollars dive, we can at least savor the irony: Rumsfeld **hated** the French, who were the epitome of his “old Europe.” Now their Airbus Industrie will manufacture the tankers and get the dough. Boeing will no doubt remain as pushy as ever, but will apparently have a few billion less with which to bribe influential “Washington defense experts” in the near future.

See the corruption details below, from Wiki:
In May 2003, the US Air Force announced it would lease 100 KC-767 tankers to replace the oldest 136 of its KC-135s. The 10 year lease would give the USAF the option to purchase the aircraft at the end of the contract. In September 2003, responding to critics who argued that the lease was vastly more expensive than an outright purchase, the DOD announced a revised lease of 74 aircraft and purchase of 26.
In December 2003, the Pentagon announced the project was to be frozen while an investigation of allegations of corruption by one of its former procurement staffers, Darleen Druyun (who had moved to Boeing in January) was begun. The fallout of this resulted in the resignation of Boeing CEO Philip M. Condit and the termination of CFO Michael M. Sears. Harry Stonecipher, former McDonnell Douglas CEO and Boeing COO, replaced Condit on an interim basis.

Druyun pleaded guilty to inflating the price of the contract to favor her future employer and to passing information on the competing Airbus A330 MRTT bid (from EADS). In October 2004, she was sentenced to nine months in jail for corruption, fined $5,000, given three years of supervised release and 150 hours of community service.

In June 2003, Lockheed Martin sued Boeing alleging that the company had resorted to industrial espionage in 1998 to win the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) competition. Lockheed alleged that the former employee Kenneth Branch, who went to work for McDonnell Douglas and Boeing, passed 25,000 proprietary documents to his new employers. Lockheed argued that these documents allowed Boeing to win 21 of the 28 tendered military satellite launches.

In July 2003, Boeing was penalized, with the Pentagon stripping $1 billion worth of contracts away from the company and awarding them to Lockheed Martin. Furthermore, the company was forbidden to bid for rocket contracts for a twenty-month period which expired in March 2005.

[note: Boeing had actually moved its corporate headquarters from Washington state to Chicago in an attempt to influence (former) speaker Hastert, who is from Illinois. Sorry, guys! He’s gone too!]

8:18 am on March 1, 2008