WASHINGTON — A report released on Thursday by the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General reveals that on December 6, 2018, then Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan met with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told IG investigators she believed Shanahan should not have met with Musk because Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, was bound by an ethics agreement to recuse himself from any official business related to his former employer.
Wilson raised concerns that the meeting was improper because SpaceX and Boeing compete for Air Force launch services contracts. Boeing owns 50% of United Launch Alliance, Musk’s archrival since SpaceX entered the national security launch market in 2015.
When Shanahan was nominated to be deputy secretary of defense, he signed an ethics agreement stating he would not participate in matters where Boeing was involved, unless authorized.
The April 25 IG report was the result of a six-week investigation into allegations that Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan took actions to promote his former employer, Boeing, and disparage its competitors.
The report clears Shanahan of any ethics violations.
The portion of the report that deals with Wilson’s concerns about the meeting with Musk provides previously unknown details ...