By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff
WASHINGTON _ A watchdog group is seeking all contacts between the Pentagon's second-ranking official and Raytheon, his former employer, in an effort to determine whether special guidelines that were established to avoid a conflict of interest have been followed since he took office a year ago.
The nomination of William J. Lynn, a former executive and lobbyist for the Waltham-based defense giant, was among the most controversial because he required a waiver for Obama administration rules barring ex-lobbyists from working in government agencies with jurisdiction over their former industry for at least two years.
In his Senate confirmation process to be deputy secretary of defense, Lynn, who is also a former Raytheon vice president, pledged to not involve himself for at least a year in decisions affecting half a dozen weapons programs -- including a new warship, missiles, and satellites -- that he advocated during his stint as a lobbyist for the company from 2002 to 2008.
Now, the Project on Government Oversight, an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes government misconduct, wants the paper trail to prove it.
Mandy Smithberger, a national security investigator for POGO, has requested under the Freedom of Information Act all ethics decisions that have been issued relating to Lynn; any conflict of interest waivers or recusals issued or requested on his behalf; a list of all meetings he has had with Raytheon officials, consultants, and its subsidiaries; as well as any correspondence between Lynn and Raytheon.
Her letter can be found here: lynnfoiapdf.pdf
"We are requesting this information to make sure that the Pentagon did due diligence to ensure no lines were crossed," said Danielle Brian, the group's executive director.
As Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates' top deputy, Lynn, who was also a staffer for the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, is the Pentagon's day-to-day manager, with responsibility for hundreds of billions of dollars in defense contracts.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.