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Ex-U.S. Official's Boeing Ties Questioned

October 08, 2003|From Reuters

New questions emerged Tuesday about former Air Force official Darleen Druyun, whom Boeing Co. hired as an executive after she helped the Pentagon negotiate a multibillion-dollar deal to lease Boeing 767s as airborne refueling tankers.

The National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative nonprofit group opposing the lease deal, released public records that show Druyun agreed to sell her Virginia home to a Boeing attorney while she was still working as an Air Force procurement official.

The group also said Druyun's daughter and son-in-law both worked for Boeing, a fact the Chicago company confirmed.

Aides for the Senate Armed Services Committee, the last of four committees required to approve the deal, said the plan may be in serious trouble amid concern that the $22.4-billion proposal to lease and then buy 100 Boeing 767 refueling tankers would cost the Air Force billions of dollars more than a purchase.

The Pentagon inspector general also is investigating whether Druyun and other Air Force officials improperly shared proprietary data with Boeing while negotiating the lease deal.

"The question is whether Ms. Druyun's 'work' was done in contemplation of her or any member of her family receiving something of value and whether she or her family were privately rewarded by Boeing in violation of federal laws and regulations," Ken Boehm, founder of the National Legal and Policy Center, said in a letter to Pentagon Inspector Gen. Joseph Schmitz.

Boeing denies receiving any proprietary data during the discussions. Druyun's attorney, William Sheehan, said his client did not share proprietary information with Boeing, and obeyed ethics rules throughout her government career.

Boeing spokesman Doug Kennett said the Boeing lawyer who bought Druyun's house had not been actively involved in the tanker lease deal before moving to Washington and first learned of Druyun's house from a real estate agent.

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