As 2010 drew to a close, the Pentagon quietly changed a conflict-of-interest rule, loosening restrictions for defense companies working under lucrative government contracts.
Under the old rule, Pentagon officials who oversaw contracts could investigate potential conflicts of interest and break up deals because of them. Under the new rule, such reviews only apply to major contracts.
The Project On Government and Oversight, which had advocated for a strengthening of the original rule, worries that the new, apparently looser rule might “create numerous competition problems for small and mid-sized contractors and others who aren’t part of the inner circle” of the Pentagon.
As Danger Room helpfully points out, the rule was changed just a few days before the deputy secretary of defense, William Lynn, wrote a memo that reminded officials to keep it ethical.