Boeing’s Influence

Can you imagine the amount of money flowing from Boeing to DC right now?
During the 2018 election cycle, here were the donations from Boeing to members of the House Aviation Subcommittee:

Republicans: Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania) $9,700. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) $5,999. Garret Graves (R-Louisiana) $6,000. Sam Graves (R-Missouri) $10,000. John Katko (R-New York) $15,400. Brian Mast (R-Florida) $7,681. Paul Mitchell (R-Michigan) $5,000.  Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania) $3,000. David Rouzer (R-North Carolina) $2,000. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pennsylvania) $8,000. Rob Woodall (R-Georgia) $2,000. Don Young (R-Alaska) $1,000.
Boeing contributions to Republicans on the Aviation Subcommittee, $75,780.

Democrats: Anthony Brown (D-Maryland) $8,500. Salud Carbajal (D-California) $5,000. Andre Carson (D-Indiana) $10,000. Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) $2,000. Angie Craig (D-Minnesota) $703. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) $5,000. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) $6,000. Henry Johnson (D-Georgia) $1,000. Rick Larsen (D-Washington) $7,048. Daniel Lipinski (D-Illinois) $6,000. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York) $3,500. Donald Payne (D-New Jersey) $1,000. Dina Titus (D-Nevada) $3,000. Total Amount Boeing contributions to Democrats on the Aviation Subcommittee in 2018 cycle: $58,969. Average for each of the 22 members. $2,680.
Boeing contributions to the 39 Democratic members of the Subcommittee, $134,749.

Unsafe At Any Altitude?

You’d be forgiven for losing track of all the investigations swirling around Boeing and its responsible executives.At last count there were five active investigations.

The Department of Justice’s Fraud Section opened a criminal investigation into the development and certification of the 737 MAX by the FAA and Boeing.

The DOT’s Inspector General and the FBI are participating in the investigation.

Federal attorneys are gathering evidence through a federal grand jury seated in Washington, D.C. Grand jury proceedings are conducted in secret and the Justice Department has declined to comment on the investigation.

The Transportation Department’s Inspector General is conducting a separate administrative audit into the certification of the 737 MAX. At a Senate subcommittee hearing in March, Inspector General Calvin Scovel said audits take about seven months, but could take longer given the complexity of the issue.

In early April, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a review panel comprising a team of experts from the FAA, NASA and international aviation authorities. The group will conduct a comprehensive review of the certification of the automated flight-control system on the 737 MAX as well as its design and how pilots interact with it.

The Aviation Subcommittee of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held hearings in May inquiring on the status of the Boeing 737 MAX.

An SEC investigation into whether Boeing was adequately forthcoming to shareholders about problems with the plane. Companies are required to disclose this type of information as it can affect their financial results.

Drip, Drip, Drip Revelation

Boeing’s PR performance took a turn for the worse when the public learned the company knew about its software problem for at least a year before it told anyone.

For weeks Boeing’s statements were evasive, which prompted reporters to keep digging.

The feature, called an “angle of attack disagree alert” signals pilots as to whether sensors are providing wrong data about the pitch of the plane’s nose. Bad data has reportedly been linked to both crashes.

From the beginning, Boeing and it’s CEO tried to spin the narrative that the planes only needed a software update. Now Boeing finds itself skewered in the press for an egregious lack of safety culture.
The statements from Boeing’s CEO are some of the most defensive and self-justifying we’ve ever seen. The company appears to be trying to prove it’s done nothing wrong.
Last week a Boeing executive raised and then dismissed the possibility of a bird collision contributing to the Ethiopian Airlines accident. Ethiopian authorities disagreed with that view.

Blaming Pilots
The Guardian reported that Boeing CEO and president Dennis Muilenburg said the 737 MAX was correctly designed and the pilots did not “completely” follow procedures outlined by the airline manufacturer.

American Airlines reportedly responded by describing Boeing’s position as “inexcusable”, with Allied Pilots Association countering that Muilenburg had unfairly blamed pilots involved in the fatal Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes.