Congressional hearings on Boeing dominated by grandstanding–but damning documents revealed
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November 4, 2019 - by Scott Hamilton for leehamnews.com
- Senate hearing largely theater.
- House hearing has grandstanding, but substance, too.
- House reveals some damning documents.
- Muilenburg claims no knowledge of legal strategy, but top lawyer reports directly to him.
Last week's Congressional hearings about the Boeing 737 MAX crisis was just as I expected: theatre, lots of grandstanding, little substance and testimony that elicited little in the way of new information.
The US Senate hearing was a perfect example of playing to the television by many Senators.
The House hearing certainly had its share, but in more lucid moments, some House members produced new documents that were especially damning to Boeing.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and John Hamilton, VP and chief engineer, did no harm to Boeing, which was probably the prime objective. (Hamilton is no relation to me.)
Muilenburg did harm to himself, however, and some Members of Congress landed some damning blows.
The House members did their share of grandstanding, too, but they took their job and this hearing far more seriously than the Senate (a low bar, to be sure).
The questions to Muilenburg and Hamilton were far more pointed, far more substantive and confrontational.
Some House members produced documents that had not been previously revealed, some of which were especially damning to Boeing's approach to developing and certifying MCAS.
There were repeated calls for Muilenburg to resign and one that he give up his compensation ($23m last year).
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