A Lion Air Boeing 737-800 plane flies over the Sukarno-Hatta airport in Tangerang outside Jakarta on March 18, 2013. European aerospace giant Airbus will sign on March 18 what would mark one of its biggest orders ever from Indonesia's Lion Air for more than 200 A320 medium-haul jets, business daily Les Echos reported.    AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRY        (Photo credit should read ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)
ADEK BERRY/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A Lion Air Boeing 737-800 plane flies over the Sukarno-Hatta airport in Tangerang outside Jakarta on March 18, 2013. European aerospace giant Airbus will sign on March 18 what would mark one of its biggest orders ever from Indonesia's Lion Air for more than 200 A320 medium-haul jets, business daily Les Echos reported. AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRY (Photo credit should read ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:28
Acting defense secretary under probe over Boeing ties
Getty Images/CNN
Now playing
01:31
Ocasio-Cortez 'inclined' to agree that Justice Breyer should retire
Now playing
02:50
'Beyond belief': Pelosi on Trump's DOJ saying they were unaware of data breach
Now playing
02:47
Pelosi: Manchin left door ajar on HR1 and I'm not giving up
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28:  Attorney General William Barr appears before the House Oversight Committee In his first congressional testimony in more than a year, Barr is expected to face questions from the committee about his deployment of federal law enforcement agents to Portland, Oregon, and other cities in response to Black Lives Matter protests; his role in using federal agents to violently clear protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House last month before a photo opportunity for President Donald Trump in front of a church; his intervention in court cases involving Trump's allies Roger Stone and Michael Flynn; and other issues. on July 28, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. (Photo by Matt McClain-Pool/Getty Images)
Matt McClain/Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Attorney General William Barr appears before the House Oversight Committee In his first congressional testimony in more than a year, Barr is expected to face questions from the committee about his deployment of federal law enforcement agents to Portland, Oregon, and other cities in response to Black Lives Matter protests; his role in using federal agents to violently clear protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House last month before a photo opportunity for President Donald Trump in front of a church; his intervention in court cases involving Trump's allies Roger Stone and Michael Flynn; and other issues. on July 28, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. (Photo by Matt McClain-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:33
Legal analyst: Normally, Barr would have known about subpoenas
CNN
Now playing
02:02
Barr's answer draws scrutiny amid new scandal
CNN
Now playing
03:32
Watergate journalist: Trump's actions go further than Nixon's
raffensberger
CNN
raffensberger
Now playing
03:25
'This is unacceptable': Election official speaks out after threats against wife
Deep State Dogs
Now playing
03:29
See how internet sleuths are hunting down insurrectionists
Vladimir Putin NBC intv
NBC
Vladimir Putin NBC intv
Now playing
04:22
Hear how Putin compared Donald Trump to Joe Biden
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, November 11, 2020, in Atlanta.
Brynn Anderson/AP
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, November 11, 2020, in Atlanta.
Now playing
02:35
Family of GA secretary of state got death threats months after election
Pennsylvania State House
Now playing
02:04
Pennsylvania lawmaker to GOP: 'Are you not 100% White?'
CNN
Now playing
01:28
'Fishing expedition': Honig slams Trump's DOJ
Getty Images/AP
Now playing
02:08
Trump runs into a problem in revenge quest against GOP governor
CNN
Now playing
02:32
Schiff reacts to DOJ subpoena: Shocked ... but not surprised
CNN
Now playing
04:38
Democratic lawmaker: Trump 'weaponized' DOJ against opponents
Washington CNN —  

An investigation has been launched to determine whether acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan violated ethics rules by promoting products made by his former employer, Boeing, while serving in his current role at the Pentagon, the Defense Department’s inspector general announced Wednesday.

Shanahan, who worked at Boeing for more than 30 years prior to taking a job at the Pentagon, has faced accusations of being overly warm toward the company and claims that he “disparaged the company’s competitors to his subordinates” from a federal watchdog called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics.

CREW filed a complaint last week asking the inspector general to launch a probe into whether Shanahan’s actions violated his signed ethics agreement which aims to ensure there are no conflicts of interest with Boeing while he is at the Pentagon.

“The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General has decided to investigate complaints that we recently received that Acting Secretary Shanahan allegedly took actions to promote his former employer, Boeing, and disparage its competitors, allegedly in violation of ethics rules,” a spokesman for the office said in a statement.

“In his recent Senate Armed Services Committee testimony, Acting Secretary Shanahan stated that he supported an investigation into these allegations. We have informed him that we have opened this investigation,” the statement said.

A US defense official told CNN Wednesday that the IG precisely chose to use the word investigation because there is enough credible initial information beyond the complaint filed by CREW to warrant a probe into whether Shanahan violated his ethics agreement.

The IG has not yet come to a conclusion as to whether a violation occurred, the official emphasized.

“It is extremely disturbing that acting Secretary Shanahan appears to be using his public office for Boeing’s private gain,” Noah Bookbinder, executive director of CREW, said last week.

“Ethics rules make clear that government employees cannot abuse their offices to promote a private company, much less work on official matters involving their former employer,” he added.

Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, a spokesman for Shanahan said in a statement that “Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan welcomes the Inspector General’s review of the complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.”

“Acting Secretary Shanahan has at all times remained committed to upholding his ethics agreement filed with the DoD. This agreement ensures any matters pertaining to Boeing are handled by appropriate officials within the Pentagon to eliminate any perceived or actual conflict of interest issue with Boeing,” he said.

Last week Shanahan was asked by Sen. Richard Blumenthal whether he supports such an investigation by the IG, Shanahan said, “yes, I do.”

Shanahan has been one of the names under consideration to be nominated by President Donald Trump as the full-time secretary of defense.