Media Contacts: Mandy Smithberger, Director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), [email protected]; or Caitlin MacNeal, Communications Manager at POGO, [email protected]
(WASHINGTON)—If President-elect Joe Biden nominates Michèle Flournoy as secretary of defense, as several news reports have indicated, the Senate must learn more about her past work before confirming her.
Flournoy must release the identities of her clients at her strategic consulting firm, WestExec Advisors, and detail the programs she worked on both at WestExec and at the Boston Consulting Group. Her employment at these two companies, as well as her time as a paid board member for defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, creates potential conflicts of interest that could prevent her from fulfilling her duties in an unbiased manner.
The Senate must know more about her paid and unpaid work outside of government, particularly for defense contractors or foreign governments. Only with that knowledge can the Senate and the public determine whether Flournoy's work could compromise her integrity as leader of the Pentagon.
Biden should not make the same mistake President Barack Obama did at the beginning of his first term and be forced to issue an ethics waiver to a senior Pentagon official during his first few days in office.
“We know too little about Michèle Flournoy’s work since she left government. Over the past several decades, the Pentagon has made far too many calls based on the needs of the defense industry,” said Mandy Smithberger, the director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight. “We need a leader at the Defense Department who will make unbiased policy decisions that will ensure the security of the American people, not decisions based on what best lines the pockets of defense industry executives and their shareholders, who have all done well with endless wars. We need to know more about Flournoy’s clients and policy priorities in order to determine what kind of leader she would be.”
Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing.
We champion reforms to achieve a more effective, ethical, and accountable federal government that safeguards constitutional principles.