Troubling Facts About Boeing's Culture of Fraud
Boeing has made much publicly about its supposed ethics reforms "post Boeing CFO Sears and Druyun." But the average Boeing employee still does not know whether to laugh or cry when thinking of the state of Boeing's ethics. That is what I observed at Boeing before my termination for trying to terminate what is perhaps the most serious of the illegalities Boeing still is willingly performing, openly or not.
I put the "post Boeing CFO Sears and Druyun" Ethics program to the test, so to speak, when I attempted to use it to protect me from further harassment and retaliation after I reported these illegalities to the FAA and Boeing Headquarters and both corrupt organizations refused to take any real action to stop this fraud.
I contacted the "Boeing Ethics" (an oxymoronic name of an organization if there ever was one) department on two occasions after two incidents by Boeing managers--one of assault and further threats of bodily harm to me, and threats to fire me if I did not end my ethic of being "the last inspector" at Boeing and begin to rollerstamp work off as acceptable without the required inspection to see if the airplane components were acceptable or not. Both of these events with multiple witnesses came back from "Boeing Ethics" as "unsubstantiated," and therefore the Boeing managers were free to continue their unethical actions against me.
In the case where I had a huge airplane component rammed against me, and the manager of the shop stating that that is what happened to inspectors who did not "work with shop," Boeing Ethics would not even explain the reason why they chose to deem it "unsubstantiated," which is a violation of "Boeing Ethics" investigation procedures, I believe ("working with shop" is a common term for "does not rollerstamp" at Boeing. I treated everyone in the shop I inspected the work of with respect, being the only inspector I knew of that thanked mechanics for letting me be of service to them after witness torques and other inspections by saying "thanks," and had positive relationships with shop personnel where we would frequently exchange jovial banter. The few relationships where shop personnel did not return my respectful treatment of them was when they resented the fact I would not rollerstamp their work off like other inspectors did.)
In the other case, Boeing Ethics investigators had to go to great lengths in stretching the truth to try and justify their "unsubstantiated" claim--any impartial observer would have seen the intentional error in their "logic" in closing the case as unsubstantiated and doing nothing. The case being deemed "Unsubstantiated," was always a forgone conclusion, as the complaint was against my QA supervisor who told me the unethical and illegal "facts of inspector rollerstamping life at Boeing" on 1/11/02. As Boeing Headquarters had chosen to overlook his illegal acts in that case when I reported it to them, Boeing Ethics could not validate another such act by the same supervisor and institute sanctions against him, as that would make their planned use of him in any trial to likely lie that the 1/11/02 meeting never occurred or was about something completely different than it was about more unbelievable than it would be otherwise.
Although "Boeing Ethics" would not act despite multiple witnesses in each case, I did learn some important facts myself during these two investigations.
The first fact is that there is a double standard in the unethical "Boeing Ethics" department. Boeing management is essentially given a "bulletproof vest" in ethics "investigations" against them by the "Ethics" department, while non-management personnel are considered expendable and not thusly given protection against their unethical actions like Boeing management are, no matter how egregious the actions of Boeing management happen to be.
Employees of any level can have unethical and illegal actions by Boeing management corrected only if they have a recording or email or other evidence not able to be covered up by "Boeing Ethics" personnel of the manager's illegal or unethical conduct. This lets management intentionally off the hook in most cases. For non-management personnel, Ethics investigations don't require such an impossible burden of proof (as recording unethical management conduct at Boeing is illegal, and will surely get you fired), and witness statements can be used to discipline an employee.
What makes this defacto policy of "Boeing Ethics" much more puzzling is that Boeing managers, per Boeing's own policies, are supposed to be held to a higher standard, not a lesser one, as the above shows.
Cases in point: CEO Stonecipher only was sanctioned after someone sent Boeing Headquarters emails anonymously of "inappropriately friendly" communications between married Stonecipher and another Boeing manager that exposed an extramarital affair. Other Boeing CEOs have been rumoured to be unfaithful to their wives, yet nothing was done to those CEOs. I think it is logical to state from my experience, and the facts, that Stonecipher would still be CEO if those emails did not exist, or had Boeing been able to track down the anonymous employee and prevent their disclosure outside of Boeing.
CFO Sears also had the unfortunate (to him) email trail behind him that sealed his doom. Boeing also needed a sacrificial lamb to try and end the Druyun affair ASAP. And despite Sears' loyalty to Boeing's "win at any cost" ethic, he was sacrificed.
I could go on and on, but I do not mean to make this a complete list of such events that prove my conclusion.
The other fact is that the "Boeing Ethics" department is not itself ethical as I found out personnally. To have a believable ethics program, it has to be highly ethical itself, as, in addition to enforcing ethical standards without bias, it has to set the ethical standard for rest of the company. When management is not investigated like everyone else when they perform unethical and illegal acts, and ethics investigations' outcomes are highly biased, ignoring the facts and the statements of multiple witnesses so as the ethics "investigation" comes to the right conclusion for Boeing to be able to continue unethical and illegal activity or to protect itself from accountability for its actions, such an ethics program should be called anything but an ethics program. In fact, it should be called the opposite. The "Unethical Boeing Management Protection Program" I think would be a fitting name for it as it operates.
Another method is used at Boeing under the guise of increased attention to ethical matters to further insulate Boeing managers from accountability for their actions. After Enron, and the related law passed that corporate executives had to take responsibility for the accuracy of financial statements and report the liabilities and the known risks to the company accurately, Boeing executives did not want to "take the fall" for the misconduct of those under them, even if they knew of that misconduct. So the annual "Code of Conduct" signing by all employees was born. If you didn't eventually sign it, you were fired.
This "Code of Conduct" further insulated Boeing management from their and their department's actions, like the "Boeing Ethics" department does as noted above. If an underling was caught doing something unethical and illegal that management--even senior corporate management--knew about and let happen, such as the massive rollerstamping continuing at Boeing today despite my making Boeing Headquarters aware of it, they could just point to the fact that the underling had signed the "Code of Conduct" and say the employee had violated that code of conduct they made the underling sign, making it appear that they tried to prevent the employee from taking unethical actions by having them sign the document, when in fact the manager using the "Code of Conduct" signing for plausible deniability may have been aware of that employee's misconduct and in fact encouraged it, such is the case with some managers and executives and rollerstamping at Boeing.
Many Boeing employees resent signing the "code of conduct"--not because they would do anything unethical or illegal, but simply because they do not want to take part in what they rightly see is simply an effort to cover the arses of management above them--management that has a past (and a future, do to such continuing efforts to protect their abilities to peform illegal and unethical acts) of highly unethical and illegal actions. It is simply an attempt at deflection of blame to them, they believe, when it is Boeing management that needs to be simply held accountable for their own actions.
Boeing management has yet to come clean and completely disarm itself illegal actions to attain cost, schedule, and profitability goals. Chief among them is delivering rollerstamped airplanes into service as airworthy and conforming, when the massive level of rollerstamping I witnessed at Boeing makes those claims impossible to be rightly made. Simply confirming all jobs are bought (have a final inspection stamp on them) before an airplane is delivered is worthless to ensure airworthiness and conformity when such massive rollerstamping in effect makes that paper worthless as far as evidence of airworthiness and conformity is concerned.
So, investors and concerned citizens (especially those flying Boeing airplanes and physically chancing Boeing's "acceptance of more business risk to maximize the bottom line" noted elsewhere on this site) take heed: Boeing is a company that is still highly unethical even after its self-publicized "ethics reforms", its ethics program in many cases ensures the continuance of "value adding" unethical activities at Boeing rather than what would be expected to be the actions of such a program with the word "ethics" in its title, and continues to violate laws and regulations at will, just as it did "pre-Druyun." Being "the most arrogant company on the face of the planet" per Boeing's own Corporate Investigator, it is so unethical and arrogant that it uses its power to actually punish those trying to bring some of its corrupt management to justice, like it has done to me--the exact opposite of what would be expected of an ethical company.
In fact, Boeing is not being inconsistent by naming its Ethics department by including the word "ethics" in its title. A former Boeing CEO used to say, similarly, that Boeing built "quality airplanes." Both are technically correct uses of the terms "ethics" and "quality," however those uses are misleading as would be expected at a company still so unreformed and ethically challenged. There are good ethics and bad ethics. So, also, there is good quality and bad quality. So, if you are a Boeing executive, putting the word "ethics" in the title of your ethically challenged "ethics" department is technically correct even if massively misleading--such a moniker rightly names a department within Boeing that handles ethics complaints as noted above, overlookng bad ethical activity at Boeing if it's sufficiently in the corporate interest to do so, rather than ensuring good ethics practices at Boeing as the naive reader of the title would assume. The Boeing ethics department name states nothing about what kind of ethics that department protects--good or bad. Only its actions do. Similarly, stating Boeing builds "quality airplanes" states nothing about the quality of Boeing airplanes. Boeing could have the worst quality airplanes on the face of the planet and that description of Boeing airplanes as being "quality airplanes" would be true.
So the saga of unethical actions at Boeing continues to this day. When Boeing management truly disarms itself of unethical acts to meet its goals and one day "grounds itself" from being the "most arrogant company on the face of the planet," I will be the first to celebrate and acknowledge that act. I fear, however, that day will never come as judged by Boeing's continuing actions. Boeing, I believe, may never have been as unethical as it is today, even in the "Sears and Druyun" days.
Boeing Corporate Corruption Primer
This page section can be used by those companies and corporations wondering how they can be successful at skirting laws and regulations even if your organization has "paid the price" after being caught by any of the few ethical government agencies in existence for corrupt activities in the past, or, much more preferably, can be used to learn what not to do to keep your corporation from going down the paths of using corruption to meet your organization's goals and/or to cover up and continue your misdeeds rather than actually ending them and becoming a truly ethical company:
1. First of all, attitude is everything, as they say, and to continue and/or cover up corruption in your organization--especially widespread and endemic corruption that has been in your organization for years and would be much more difficult (for financial and other reasons) to end than to continue--you must have the correct corporate attitude to make your corrupt activities have the most positive impact on the bottom line and to keep them secret to the extent possible for them to continue. This is not the image in your public image ad campaigns. This is the real attitude of your corporation, and it must come from your corporate headquarters and flow down through the organization and be made known to those outside the company that may (through ethical "defects") feel obligated to report corruption within your company they have learned about to any of the the local, state, or federal government agencies. It is the "attitude" your own "in the know" employees know, and anyone daring to expose your corruption from within the company or from without must be made to know and fear. The most preferred attitude in this regard for your corporation to have would be extreme arrogance. Arrogance lets those people that might otherwise dare to expose your corruption know that you do not care what the public or what the government really knows about your corporation's corruption. They know through your arrogant "behind the scenes" corporate attitude and related actions that you will roll right over anyone who gets in the way of any sort of corrupt activity your corporation chooses to engage in. Make people fear the size and power of your organization to make their lives miserable if they so much as think of holding you accountable for any illegal or unethical action you are engaged in or are contemplating engaging in. They will get the message if your corporation projects this sort of attitude successfully. Boeing is a good example in this regard. As noted elsewhere on this site, a Corporate Investigations Manager told me (in an interview with him the day after I was released from jail in my own personal lesson of Boeing's arrogance) that "Boeing is the most arrogant company on the face of the planet." I, personally, because of my intimate experience with Boeing, agree with his matter of factly stated statement. While, per this Boeing manager, Boeing has the #1 position locked up, your corporation could follow this example and set a goal to become the #2 most arrogant company on face of the planet. Arrogance has a key benefit for those organizations wanting to continue or to perpetrate corruption. As I read a former Congressman had sagely said--"arrogance breeds corruption." So, arrogance will not only protect your ability to perform your fraudulent action of choice, that attitude will also foster the corruption you want in your organization, for potentially significant benefits to the bottom line if you succeed in getting away with your fraud of choice.
2. Don't let past negative quarters of financial results when caught and fined for illegal actions deter you from your continuing arrogance and corruption. Just because you were caught on some of the more minor acts of corruption of your company does not mean you have to abandon all corrupt activities within your organization. To do so would have long term negative financial impacts. Even politicians that railed against and even exposed your corruption need not be a deterrent. During election seasons and times of weightier issues such as war, your corrupt organization can effectively "skate under the radar" of these same politicians that were pains in your organization's "corrupt backside" before, even if people report some of your remaining and even vastly more serious corrupt activities than you were caught engaging in directly to them. They cannot respond to every report of corporate corruption they get, and they also don't want to be seen as having a vendetta against you, especially if you are a sufficiently powerful corporation and it is election season again. They may have ended a minute part of your corrupt activities in the past, but they may not want to take the risk of taking away from their successful record in the public eye by risking losing the next battle to expose and end reported corruption in your huge and powerful corporation.
3. Become a duopoly in your markets of choice. This will make it impossible for politicians and government agencies to put you and your endemic corrupt activities out of business. If they have a need for your products and services, they will not be able to apply the necessary sanctions that will motivate you to end your corruption and therefore protect the public and military personnel from your corruption. Politicians can then hide behind the bogus reason that contracts with your corrupt organization cannot be effectively ended due to the need for your products and services for national and economic security reasons to excuse them from having to do the tough work of fielding and responding to effectively the numerous reports of corruption such politicians receive about your corporation's corrupt activities by those do-gooders who delude themselves that they can have an effect in ending some part of you enterprise's corrupt activities by reporting them to the seemingly appropriate politician or government agency. This I saw in some of the questions/comments of some of the few politicians who showed up at the 8/1/06 Boeing Tanker/EELV Global Settlement Agreement hearing. Of course such reasons to not go after corrupt corporations are false--the government can hold a company--even one of a duopoly of companies--accountable for their illegal actions while still holding the company to their contract commitments to deliver conforming hardware and services. The government can strip such a company (via fines for their actions) of all of their profits for decades to come or until they choose to really end corruption as a primary tool to meet internal financial goals. In addition they can throw any number of corrupt managers of such a corporation in prison (after a fair trial, of course) for any length of time without harming the companies ability to deliver conforming and safe products until managers who get the message that corruption in that company will not be tolerated--truly ethical management--is put in place at the company replacing the imprisoned executives and managers. But that would require a level of oversight by the government that it may not be willing or able to perform because of the endemic and vast nature of your corruption, much to your corrupt company's benefit, of course.
4. Whatever you do, do not start a so called "ethics program" at your company in an attempt to make it seem publicly like you are an ethical company despite your continuing use of massive levels of unethical and illegal acts to meet financial and other goals. While a good PR move, such programs will be expensive and non-value added at a company as corrupt as yours. This is because you dare not let most employees know of your official and unwritten policy of using whatever method, legal or not, best maximizes your bottom line because, in an organization of your size, even the very small percentage of employees that are "ethically defective" (from your corrupt organization's perspective) and would report this fraud to the relevant investigative agency of the government would be a large number of such reports indeed, each with some minuscule risk to your corporation's continued unbridled corrupt activities. These risks and the legal and administrative costs of ending such valid reports of your corporation's wrongdoing by any means makes letting everyone in your organization know about your unwritten policy to use illegal and unethical means to attain business goals a non starter. Therefore, since most employees cannot be told the real way your company does business, such an ethics program would receive massive numbers of reports of the unethical conduct you wish to foster in your company from those employees who actually delude themselves into thinking you want them to follow written but just for PR purposes policies for employees to report unethical and/or illegal conduct at the company if they see such behavior. And even though such a program would be set up to ensure it does not threaten the fraud you wish to engage in by ensuring such reported activities are always dubbed "unsubstantiated" after a pseudo-investigation of the report, such a ethics program would entail significant costs just due to the number of reports from employees who delude themselves that the company is serious about the ethics program--costs that would subtract from your company's all important bottom line and therefore from the potential value of your stock grants and options.
5. However, if you are required to set up some kind of ethics program as promised corrective action to a government entity after having the misfortune of being caught by them for one of your many acts of corruption, you will need to set an ethics program befitting your company (a corrupt one). It is better and much less expensive to set up an ethics program than it would be to have real corrective action that may actually end your use of unethical and illegal acts to maximize the bottom line, such as significant fines that would wipe a whole year's profits off the books and cause your stock price to plummet for years to come. By all means "promise" to set up an ethics program as an alternative to jail sentences for most of the executive management involved in the corruption (especially yourself) and such significant fines, and hope the government "bites" on your proposal, no matter how many times you have been caught breaking such promises in the past. Just carefully avoid "promising" to implement an effective one, if at all possible. A model program would protect your unethical management by deeming the vast majority of ethical complaints against management as "unsubstantiated," no matter how much evidence the person or persons reporting the unethical conduct have of the manager's misconduct. A good standard to apply is to require a video or audio or email trail in order to substantiate such a complaint. As video and audio recording without approval inside most companies is prohibited by company policy and/or privacy laws, that only leaves email as a threat to your corrupt management, and your managers can be warned not to document your company's questionably if not illegal conduct in email, and be told to delete any possible incriminating email ASAP. Of course, you can substantiate claims against non-management personnel as you wish, as those personnel are expendable, and you can use those substantiated claims to give the appearance to the government that your ethics program is working, should they audit the program. A good model for an ethics program for your company can be found here:
6. Once your corrupt enterprise is up and running as noted above, it will be important to start banking on that corruption to enhance your bottom line. A key advantage to being a corrupt enterprise are the abilities your corporation has that other "ethically challenged" (ethically challenged, that is, because they behave ethically and you would never limit your corporation that way) do not have--legal, regulatory, and ethical boundaries an ethical company faces mean nothing to your corporation. Just don't get caught stepping across any of those boundaries by the odd ethical government agency or law enforcement agency. Your corporation is arrogant as a necessity, but that does not mean you have to be stupid. In fact, availing your corporation of the ability to cross legal, ethical, and regulatory "lines" is a smart thing to do to ensure winning in the marketplace, especially if you don't get caught doing it.
7. First among things to do to ensure the success of your corrupt enterprise is to ensure that you reduce the chances you get caught and held liable for your actions to a minimum. This is a no-brainer, but if you are a slow CEO and gained your position more by who you were born to and/or who you know than what you know, I will spell it out for you: you must begin by corrupting the very agencies that would threaten your corrupt activities to reduce the chances you'll get caught for your crimes and misdemeanors to a minimum. This is easy, and does not require bribing everyone in an agency--just a few key players in the agency that could stifle the agency from rightly acting against your corruption if they are brought into the corrupt fold of your corporation. You need not actually bribe these officials at the time of their services in hamstringing their agencies from acting against your corruption. That would be riskier than need be as a mechanism already exists to bribe these officials "legally." These officials in high positions of authority in their agencies as a rule have many years of service to their agencies, and so are very near or at their retirement ages. Most of them communicate regularly with your management in the course of their oversight functions. During these communications, make it a point to show the government official a company executive's lifestyle--their million dollar home in a gated community, their yacht, the expensive private school or college their children attend. Have the person communicating with this person casually mention that they like the government official's penchant for "working with the company" as opposed to taking enforcement actions against the company that they could have performed. Have your executive contact with this official say that they know the official wants to retire in a few years, and state that a position will be available at your company when they retire that will pay enough they can have all of what you have shown them of your executive's lifestyle and more. Have your person tell them that the position will be there as long as they maintain a friendly "working together" relationship with the company during their last few years in government service, and avoid any enforcement action against your company. These government officials are so underpaid they will bite on this promised executive lifestyle in a heartbeat, and will be effectively in your company's employ from that point on, even though their quid pro quo employment with your company won't actually occur until a few years later. Make a priority list in risk areas for your company to decide which officials to thusly approach and corrupt first to enable maximum payoff for your company's corrupt activities, then just work down the list. Of course, this isn't entirely legal, but as long as the promise of employment is not recorded, you are home free. Officials going directly from government service to the same company they regulated is often done, and though some people ("the ethically challenged" ones) don't like it, it is perfectly legal, except for the way your company does it to corrupt those officials before they leave their agencies, but that is only really known between the corrupt government official and your company. Once you gain a "beachhead" in a government agency like this, it will be easy to get the corrupt government official to promote and groom replacements to act in your corrupt company's best interests in similar quid pro quo arrangements, making the corrupt relationship between your corporation and the government agency truly a self-perpetuating "revolving door" mechanism of corruption that will render that potentially problematic agency to your illegal plans effectively toothless, ad infinitum. This method will work not only with officials in oversight agencies, but for officials in procurement agencies in government as well. It is key to defang and corrupt as many agencies in government as possible in this way before you get seriously and massively involved in your planned bottom line enhancing corrupt activities, for obvious reasons. There are many corporations that have done this successfully, even after being caught in specific instances of thusly improperly influencing government officials. It is these most arrogant of corporations that you should model your corrupt enterprise's activities after.
8. The next thing you will need as an arrogant and corrupt corporation is a legal department that echoes those values. Being a corrupt company using illegal acts to enhance the bottom line will inevitably bring your company many more legal challenges than an ethical company that followed the laws and regulations would face. You'll need to staff up your legal department accordingly, however this extra cost of doing business need not by far eat into your ill gotten bottom line gains. Selecting legal department staffers that can obstruct, forestall, and use esoteric and highly technical legal maneuvers to get even to most rock solid cases against your company dismissed is your goal. The key thing to foster in your company's legal department is the same arrogance and greed and disrespect for the laws and regulations on which your true business plan is based. You must screen potential legal staffers closely, just as you would your ethics department "investigators" (if you are unfortunate enough to be forced into having a pseudo-ethics department). People that are motivated by money and have little or no empathy for others (like some serial killers' lack of empathy) would be ideal candidates not only for management, but for your legal department as well. They must be people that treat the company's money as if it were coming out of their own pockets, so it would be a good idea to compensate these employees by small percentages of potential company liability they avoided by hook or by crook. Compensating employees for particularly imaginary ways that derail the many valid lawsuits your corrupt company will face is also a good idea, as these methods they come up with can be used again and again on the same similar cases that will inevitably come up when your company thumbs its nose at complying with anything except bottom line, stock price, and executive stock option and grant goals. And, even though your budget for your legal department will be many millions of dollars, that will be a small percentage of the valid claims such a legal department will save your company from paying by any method, both legal and not.
But the greatest function of your legal department will not be to save your corrupt company the millions if not billions of damages you would have to pay if your company owned up to your "sins"--its greatest function will be to keep your arse out of prison, where you deep down know it belongs no matter how jaded you have become, and instead, keep you out on the golf course and otherwise enjoying your CEO kingly lifestyle any way you please. While many would exchange their meager lifestyle (such as the underpaid employees on the lower rungs of the company's and its subcontractor's pay ranges) for yours if they got to live nine tenths of their lives with gold spoons in their mouths and had to spend the last tenth paying for the crimes that got them that lifestyle by being someone's "bitch" in prison for the last tenth of their lives, you obviously don't want to go there ever, or for that matter, ever pay for any of your misdeeds in any way whatsoever--you instead want, of course, those misdeeds to pay you, and to pay you very handsomely indeed.
So, the legal department's highest priority will be to protect you and other members of the board from any legal consequences for your actions, even if the legal consequences are just meaningless labels attached to you and your company, such as being branded a felonious company by having to cop to a few felony charges for the corporation, even though no one on the board does any time and the company just pays a minuscule fine as related to the size of your bottom line. Your legal department must understand these priorities, and must always sacrifice the company and its employees before ever having to offer up your freedom, money, stock options, excessive retirement benefits, or "good name" as part of any legal negotiations.
One good example of a legal department to emulate would be that of the Boeing Company, which has been spectacularly successful in getting the company off with mere taps on the wrists despite being caught a few times "sneaking their hand in the cookie jar" of corruption in order to win competitions for contracts. (What you have to wonder, however, is, considering the amount of times they have been caught, how many times they "stole cookies from under grandma's nose" without being caught before and between the times they were caught, and whether they are still "stealing cookies" today. This site, however, will answer those questions to your satisfaction, if you read enough of it), Take the Druyun Tanker procurement crimes and the Lockheed data theft crimes that the company's legal department negotiated the legal consequences of to the company. For all of the fraud involved in those crimes, the company paid only $50 million dollars in fines, and admitted no criminal wrongdoing. The rest of the $615 million they paid was for actual damages the government suffered because of these crimes.
That's analogous to us making about 55,000 dollars a year (about one millionth of Boeing's annual revenues), having our children go into a bank and rob it, getting 25,000 dollars from the heist (about one millionth of the value of the contracts Boeing stole because of these affairs that were settled for the $50 million, plus actual damages), being caught as a family red handed in the act of the robbery, and not being arrested, but instead, the police that caught you in the act let your family go home unhindered with the cash while they investigate, while you negotiate from the luxury of home with them for a couple years before reaching an agreement.
And the agreement (consequences to you of robbing the bank) would be that you agree to let your children be prosecuted for the bank robbery even though your "win (steal) at any cost" parenting told them to rob the bank for you, you have to give the bank back the money, you have to pay a 50 dollar penalty, you have no charges brought against you (the mastermind of the robbery) for the robbery in court, and also, you do not have to admit guilt yourself for robbing the bank either. It would be just as if you hadn't robbed the bank at all, except for the 50 dollars you were out, and your children perhaps doing time for your crimes. Do you think you could rob a bank and get that kind of deal? Me neither. That is why it would pay for your corrupt corporation to have a legal department like Boeing has.
As a side note, it was rumored in the press that Boeing was facing $750 million in fines (unknown as to how much of that was for actual damages the government suffered and how much was a penalty for the crimes) and was going to be required to plead guilty to at least two felony counts as a company. That is rumored to be what the career (not appointed to office by the president) Justice department employees had stood their ground for, when the political appointees in the Justice department stepped in (one of which is currently under investigation by Congress for perjury and perhaps other misdeeds) and reduced the "penalties" to Boeing to the laughable (if it weren't so wrong) one analogized above.
Once you have formed such a legal department, you are almost done in setting up your corrupt enterprise.
9. Corrupting government officials is not enough. Employees at your company and others who know about your illegal acts will be tempted to write their Representatives and Senators from their state, hoping they will bring you to justice by acting in the public interest, and not your corrupt company's interests in continuing your corruption. This may especially be the case if the live in a state with Democratic Congressional representatives. They may contact those Democratic Congressional Reps with the idea that a politician from the Democratic party would be more likely to oppose a large corrupt corporation like yours than a Republican would, as Republicans generally support business rights over individual rights, and vice versa for the Democrats. Your corporation, however, must prove them wrong and prevent both Democratic and Republican parties from acting to stop your obvious corruption, no matter how many mere individuals contact them reporting your fraud. First of all, you must make any politician fear taking you on in the private or public arena, lest you donate heavily to their opponent's campaign in the next election. And, if the remain docile and sufficiently protect your interests, no matter how corrupt your company is, reward them well with campaign donations. Politicians must also keep in mind the voting of your employees. The more employees you have that will be negatively affected if a politician acts to expose and end your corruption, the less likely they will be to do so. Once you have neutered the potential threats from politicians exposing your fraud reported to them by eminently naive and ethical people by the above methods and others you may think of (having your lobbyists cozy up to them, etc.), you are ready for the next step in protecting your corrupt corporation from any form of justice for its actions.
Boeing Workforce Culture
My observations on the "Boeing workforce culture" experienced during my nineteen years at Boeing, which explains some of the corruption at Boeing noted elsewhere on the site.
If you inevitably view one of Boeing's television commercials where supposed "Boeing employees" are shown, and make the mistake of taking them at face value as the truth as to what kind of workers work at Boeing, you would be sadly misled.
First of all, most, if not all, of these "Boeing employees" are not in fact Boeing employees, but are actors. Watching these commercials, you may get the impression (likely intended by the advertising firm that put the commercial together) that Boeing has universally a highly technical, highly competent, and a highly caring and friendly and well adjusted workforce--a virtual Eden for any employee wanting to escape their own employer's company of ordinary, and in some cases, extraordinarily addled and unfortunate employees to work with, for something better. If you did get that impression from those commercials, however, you would be also sadly misled.
I'm not saying the opposite of the "commercial impression" is true in all cases in reality at Boeing, but to get a much more objective view of the Boeing workforce than the advertising firms put out for Boeing, you would have to work for Boeing, as I did. And, I think, you would not be surprised by what I found during my many years at Boeing--Boeing workers are not really different from any other workers at most companies of reasonable size.
The workers are not special at all like the commercials seem to imply, but are just a cross section of the public, "warts" and all. Walking into a Boeing factory, you don't see the same people you see in Boeing commercials. You see just average, every day people, just trying to make a buck and support their families.
With the cross section of the public that works at Boeing, there are inevitably "bad apples" and "good apples." Although not as bad as in earlier days at Boeing when I observed that it seemed to be endemic to have the overly red complexion of a habitual drinker if you were in upper management (perhaps it just was that those managers were just more highly conspicuous than other upper managers that did not imbibe), there are still the few employees who have that complexion and the breath to go with it, "risking" the random drug testing in some areas, just as you would likely find at any company of appreciable size. I know. I worked with some of those people and heard the talk of other employees about their drinking and the speculation on how they were "beating" the drug and alcohol testing system and still at their jobs building airplanes.
But, I have found, that if you toe the line of the corrupt "get it out the door damn everything else" system at Boeing that negates even regulatory required inspections and tests that are supposed to be done to ensure the safety, quality, and reliability of Boeing airplanes, then Boeing is very tolerant of any behavior, especially behavior that protects the noted status quo Boeing Production System I witnessed every day at Boeing, even if it is illegal behavior as noted elsewhere in detail on this site. In my experience, you only have to fear termination when you attempt to do the right thing and expose the noted corruption, as I chose to do. I do remember one termination at Boeing for drug use several years ago, but it was of a mechanic with no special pull such as some employees I heard from other coworkers had had due to their close relationships with management.
The upper management seemingly endemic drinking problems mostly of old brings to mind a sad, sad affair. A Boeing supervisor I worked for when I was a mechanic had that red complexion I wrote of, and I think most people he worked with, like me, suspected he had a drinking problem, which, as I stated, at the time was not unusual, especially for Boeing managers. He was a pleasant guy to work for. I don't remember him ever in a bad mood. He got promoted into an upper level management job, then I went into my inspector job.
I don't remember exactly when, but about a couple years later I met up by accident with one of my coworkers from the crew I worked for under the noted manager before I was an inspector. They had shocking news about our former supervisor that I had not heard. The manager had been intoxicated while driving and had been involved in an accident where he was at fault where he had survived and someone he had involved in the accident had died. He had received a sentence for the negligent homicide, but just before he had to report to serve that sentence he committed suicide. It was the saddest of endings possible due to his drinking. I couldn't help but feel some empathy for him despite him negligently causing the death of another person. I knew him to be a good natured person not deserving of such a fate. But abuse of alcohol is by all evidence a hard habit to break, and some even say it is a disease.
I could go on and on about other management and coworker antics I know of that are not so tragic, but instead are of the depraved variety, but I won't because I want to keep this site "G" rated.
(This note is being written a few years after writing the preceding. I am trying to add links to my previous writing, and I found out some additional info about my former supervisor, who was a high level Boeing manager when the preceding incidents took place. Though sparse due to the time that has passed, I did see new info (some at the noted link), that gave me new insight into my former Boeing manager Steve's life and the damage his conduct caused to others' lives. As I stated earlier, he was one of the managers I liked as far as how he treated his workers, however he obviously had an alcohol problem, as many Boeing managers do. However, despite a good personality, his addiction caused the most deep damage imaginable to his victims, and his victims' families.
I learned when looking for links that he hadn't killed just one person driving while drunk, but that he had killed two people in the accident. Tragic, to say the least. And, although there is no excused for what he did to harm others, I did learn what may have been behind his decision to commit suicide rather than report to prison. It turns out that his wife had died of brain cancer. That alone could make someone suicidal, I guess, especially if they believed in an afterlife (I am not religious myself), or even if they were not religious. This was a huge tragedy for all involved.
And I learned that he had been caught drunk driving four times before his DUI caused the deaths of the couple noted. This proved I was right all along, as his DUI arrests spanned into the time he was my Boeing manager. This tragedy points out the sad fact of Boeing Management's complicity in ignoring his alcoholism and therefore Boeing Management's complicity in the deaths of the couple. The fraud in Boeing Management noted throughout this site does not just kill, maim, and threaten the death of incalculable people on Boeing commercial and military aircraft, it threatens to kill and maim other people as well as noted. Of course, Steve's family also bear some responsibility for failing in their efforts (if there were efforts) to end Steve's alcoholism over at least a decade and a half, but the Boeing Managers Steve worked with and for deserve blame as well.
As I noted, it was obvious Steve was an alcoholic, even to a layperson as myself with no training in recognizing such addictions. Of course, his management at Boeing obviously knew he was an alcoholic as well, but for some reason did nothing and continued to promote him despite that fact. Why? It's painfully obvious. When the management of your company will put millions at unknown amounts of extra risk of death and injury just to pad Boeing's latest quarter's bottom line so as to bump up the value of their shares of Boeing stock and other compensation, overlooking the alcoholism of a close coworker in Boeing Management is essentially nothing for management so depraved.
Obviously, Steve managed to meet business targets when he was in management, otherwise he would not have continued in his position and got promoted. That is all that matters to Boeing Management. The safety of passengers and crew on its aerospace vehicles is immaterial to their pursuit of the next quarter's bottom line targets, so the lives of a few people on the road endangered by the alcoholism of one of their own mean less than nothing to them. Their hypocrisy is amazing. They drug test people on the production floor, but yet they exempt their corrupt selves from such testing and even minimum oversight of Boeing Managers conduct on or off the job.
Surely, Boeing management is still as full of drug addled immoral people as it was in the almost twenty years I was there. I have heard of no Boeing Management policy effort to change the unwritten rules at Boeing to hold Boeing Managers even minimally to the standards they have for even their own non-management workers. As long as they do what is required, no matter how illegal or immoral, to meet the day's stock price goals and/or the next quarter's bottom line targets, they are given a free pass. Boeing Management "ethics" indeed!
I rarely saw Steve at work when he was my manager. I assumed he spent most of his time in management meetings instead of on the production floor where I was located. That his managers and his management coworkers let his obvious alcoholism fester for almost a decade and a half until it killed two people and instead promoted him during that period is an indictment of the corruption still rampant throughout Boeing Management. The only tiny thing you can grasp at that may be viewed as less tragic than it otherwise would have been is that the innocent couple he and his Boeing Management intentionally overlooked addiction killed were not younger. They had lived relatively full lives. If he and Boeing Management had robbed people of many more years of their lives the already horrific tragedy of this affair would have been greater.)
Then there are the few people at Boeing with "issues"--anti-social types that anger at over the slightest perceived slight, and try to make other people as miserable as they almost constantly are. You will find a range of personality types covering almost the whole spectrum of the public. You find people that interact with other employees in such hostile ways and say things to others that make you wonder why they are still employed. Without naming all the personality types, I'm sure you can imagine the rest as you've probably encountered them at your company if it is of any size. Walking into Boeing, you will find a similar mix of people--average people you would find at most other companies--individuals in every sense of the word. What you won't find is what you see in Boeing ads--always happy, always caring employees whose only wish is to build/inspect the best airplane they can with their universally exceptional skills.
Notably, probably the most common trait among the Boeing employees I worked with is actually quite sad. I was even afflicted with it. Due to actual and/or perceived management indifference and/or hostility (adverse outsourcing decisions, the habitual offering of low-ball and takeaway contracts that make workers have to strike almost every contract year, etc.), most workers I knew were constantly in "countdown" mode--very anxiously waiting for the day when they could "fly the Boeing coop" at the earliest time and retire. Needless to say, these worker's morale could have used much improvement. I suppose the closest analogy is that of a prisoner waiting for the day their sentence is up and they will be freed. Such was the morale where I worked. Add to that the constant worrying of employees who see the almost constant outsourcing of Boeing jobs and other management schemes to similarly get rid of workers on the Boeing payroll, and you also have workers very concerned if they will ever make it to their retirement date at Boeing without having their jobs eliminated first.
So, contrary to what is shown on TV in Boeing commercials, working at Boeing is no paradise of personnel and management appreciation for services rendered--it is actually quite the opposite. Boeing could have such a workforce if they screened people enough before hiring and fired the people who slipped through that screening, but, when you are part of the Boeing team, literally, as I was, you see that such screening, if it exists, does not work well at all.
Boeing is still sadly an overly schedule and cost driven company, to the point of exclusion of doing things that should be done before delivery of the product, such as Boeing procedure and regulation required inspections and tests as noted elsewhere on this site. Nothing gets the workers who want to impress the boss in "chicken with head cut off" mode quite like even just the possibility of missing a schedule. This is ingrained in workers at Boeing over their decades of their service from almost their first day at Boeing, so it should not be too surprising that other things at Boeing have to bend to make sure the schedule is met.
One of my QA supervisors told me this explicitly--that we only inspected when we had time between the time shop finished work and when the propulsion unit shipped, as noted elsewhere on this site. QA is supposed to be an independent organization per the FAA regulations so that corruption in QA like I experienced at Boeing theoretically cannot take root at aviation companies that follow the regulations, and inspections can actually be done all of the time by QA without interference from other organizations, and done correctly. I saw that this required "independence" did not in effect exist between QA and other organizations, except in the few cases such as mine where individual inspectors independently attempted to maintain the required independence regardless of the intensity of the pressure to do otherwise.
It had gotten so bad where I worked that the most corrupt inspectors seemed to almost fall over each other on "ship days" (the day the Engine Buidup or strut assy or APU was scheduled to be transported to the factory for installation on the airplane) to be the most accommodating to shop by performing record time "inspections" and then rollerstamping the paperwork off so the unit could ship on schedule, no matter how far shop was behind schedule on completing the build on time. These inspectors seemed to take pride in the fact that they helped shop get the product out the door on schedule much more than taking pride in the work they were supposed to do per their job titles and procedures in inspecting the product with the requisite thoroughness regardless of how late shop was finishing the assembly. Of course, how could anyone take pride in something they really didn't do?
A case in point (among many) is when I was walking by the "end of the (production) line" for one of the engine buildups. An inspector (one of the better ones) was "madly" stamping off the almost three inch thick stack of production paperwork after "inspecting" the EBU. I asked them what was going on that day, trying to make small talk. They said they were, quote "rollerstamping--that's what they want."
This ethic of some inspectors to think their job was to get the product out the door on time rather than inspect the product as required before it left bothered me, as you might imagine. My corrupt QA supervisor had put me in a room one on one in an effort to get me to join this fraud, yet I refused to go as far as he wanted down that path other inspectors had been on ever since I knew them. I thought that getting a baseball cap and/or T-shirt and having "Shipping Assurance" embroidered on them and wearing them to work would make a significant statement and maybe wake some inspectors up to doing their jobs. However, I never did it, as the more likely outcome was that I would be terminated for thusly pointing out how bad things had really gotten.
That brings up another "imperative" at Boeing used similarly to schedule--cost.
Since the 1997 production snarls at Boeing, cost has also been driven into worker's heads by upper management to be as important as schedule to attain. And, unfortunately, this pursuit of cost (like schedule) also came at the expense of things perceived to not be "value-added" at Boeing, such as required inspections.
So, all in all in my experience, Boeing is quite a dysfunctional company due to many factors, such as a continuing tolerance for corruption and ethical problems in the company, a "war" waged by management against their own worker's existence and livelihoods that has cut morale to the bone, making workers feel unappreciated to say the least, a focus on cost and schedule and managers increasing their merit bonuses to the point that many of the basics don't get done before the product delivers, such as inspections and tests. It is a focus so acute that the focus has been lost on what Boeing builds--airplanes--and the importance of the processes that ensure their safety, conformance, and reliability. I long ago lost the ability to feel pride in my work in ensuring those basic requirements were met.
I still did my job to the best of my ability because I knew how important my job was despite my own management telling me otherwise by their actions, and sometimes their words. I may have ensured that the engine buildup I inspected didn't deliver with defects and out of configuration, but that was just one of the minimum two engines on each airplane, not counting the APU. It was hard to feel pride in doing a job you knew would get you into trouble if you did too well (or at all, in some cases), and even if you did your job well the component would mate up with an airplane that for the most part had not been inspected as required, so it was difficult to take pride in a product that you knew was riddled with undetected defects that were overlooked by other inspectors just "doing their jobs" the way their management wanted them to do them. That is why I never put my 401K money in Boeing stock--I saw "how the sausage was made" at Boeing every day.
Then you also have a company described by one of its Corporate Investigation Department's managers as "the most arrogant company on the face of the planet." Add to that instances of retaliation against whistleblowers like me despite Boeing testifying before Congress that they have internal protections against that happening, and a Law Department that I have witnessed serve to protect Boeing's ability to continue fraudulent activities (as noted elsewhere on this site), and you have the company Boeing is today, unrepentant and still unreformed. But the main message of this section is to try to describe the reality of what it is like to be a worker at Boeing, as opposed to those "workers" shown in Boeing PR advertising. Most Boeing employees I've seen just want to get their eight hours done and get home ASAP after that to live their lives, like alot of workers in other industries. The vast majority of Boeing employees don't care nearly enough about their work to place their own jobs in jeopardy to do the right thing and go outside of Boeing to authorities when Boeing refuses to do the right thing internally. That is understandable, from a self and family preservation standpoint, but not the right thing to do given how many people risk flying on Boeing's products.
The other interesting thing I learned in QA at Boeing was something that you (I didn't) might not expect. I noticed that several of the most ardent rollerstamping inspectors and QA managers that seemed to do mostly the opposite of their job titles were very, very religious people. This was quite disturbing to me, how someone that seemed to make a point of going to church every Sunday and wearing their religiosity proudly "on their sleeve" at work would so readily engage in conduct not only illegal, but, it would seem, also morally wrong. Of course, we've all heard stories of even church leaders doing heinous acts while in their positions of trust, but this observation of mine is somewhat different, perhaps. Did these people believe that God would somehow make the products they rollerstamped the inspections off as done when they weren't done conforming because they were so faithful? Or that He would protect the passengers on those planes when they thusly did not do their jobs? I don't know the reason, but it would be interesting to find out how such people reconcile their actions with their religion. I'm not a theologian, but I would suspect that accepting God as your savior would not be the only criteria to allow your passage into Heaven, but that your actions and their effects also have some bearing. If so, I would guess that many people who think they might have an easy passage in the afterlife to their Heaven may be in for quite a surprise. Is this to say that every deeply religious inspector I met was this way? Of course not, just most of the ones I knew. There were a couple very devout inspectors I knew that acted like I would have expected such a religious person to act--they did the right thing (within the limits they could in the Boeing QA system they were dealt) and did their inspection jobs to the best of their ability because they knew it was the right and moral thing to do. Sorry to get off on a tangent on the touchy subject of religion, but I was quite astonished how how religious a person was seemed to not be an indicator on which side of the "rollerstamping fence" they fell, and indeed some of the most religious were the most egregious rollerstampers, in my experience. Indeed, I've found, going to church or even having faith does not make you a good person--your actions must be taken into account as well.
So hopefully this will give you a greater view into the "workforce culture" at Boeing, and may help you understand how other things described on this site occurred. Don't let the commercials fool you. People at Boeing are just ordinary people. And some (like I was), are constantly under extraordinary pressure by corrupt Boeing Management to do the wrong thing.