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Boeing Leasing Deal Originally Conceived to Save Boeing's Faltering Operations post 9/11

September 2, 2003 


New documents shed light on how special interests have driven the decision to award Boeing a leasing deal that will cost $5.7 billion more than purchasing tanker planes outright, according to figures issued by the Congressional Budget Office last week.

The documents released by Senator John McCain and reported on by U.S. News and World Report show a well-orchestrated effort between the Air Force and Boeing effort to promote the deal. The Air Force is "desperately looking for the rationale for why the USAF should pursue the 767 Tanker now," wrote a Boeing executive in a September, 2002 email included in the packet of documents.

An October 4, 2001 letter to President Bush from Washington State Representative Norman Dicks makes the case for including the leasing deal in the Administration's post-September 11th economic stimulus package (click here to view the letter). The timing of the letter came several months before the leasing deal provision was attached to the Defense Department budget by Washington Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.

The letter underscores how Boeing's supposed failing business operation was the original driving force behind the leasing deal proposal – rather than national security needs as the Air Force, Boeing, and other deal promoters now claim. Representative Dicks writes "I believe that the Administration's economic stimulus package should include at least $2.5 billion for the purchase or lease of these aircraft in the Defense Department's portion of the legislation." In 2002, Boeing was ranked 24th in profits out of the top 500 companies, according to Forbes Magazine.

Other documents show the key role that former Air Force executive Darleen Druyun played in organizing the deal. Darleen Druyun took a lucrative position at Boeing shortly after her efforts on the leasing deal as well as on a failed attempt to give Boeing $200 million annually in subsidies for the military C-17 airlifter program (Click here for POGO Alert "The Pentagon's Self-Proclaimed 'Godmother of the C-17'" ).

It is anticipated that the Senate Armed Services Committee, the last of four committees with jurisdiction, will approve the leasing deal this Thursday, September 4. The Senate Commerce will hold hearings tomorrow on the deal at which POGO's Eric Miller will testify.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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