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A Matter Of Opinion

Mon., March 10, 2008, 9:30 a.m.

Smart Bombs: Politics refueled

The politics surrounding Boeing's failed bid to build the next generation of refueling tankers is interesting, according to well, me.


U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat from Illinois, where Boeing is headquartered, brought presidential politics into play: "We are sending the jobs overseas, all because John McCain demanded it."

Actually what McCain demanded was an open bidding process after discovering that a no-bid deal to lease 100 tankers from Boeing had been slipped into a bill. Investigations into that sleight-of-hand led to a procurement scandal and jail time for Boeing's chief financial officer and an Air Force officer.

It's fascinating to listen to vocal opponents of the no-bid contracts awarded to contractors in Iraq, such as Halliburton, complain that a corrupt deal involving Boeing was scuttled.

Correction: Darleen Druyun, the procurement officer alluded to above, was a civilian. She reported to the secretary of the Air Force. By the time she was investigated for corruption she had moved onto a new job, with Boeing.

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