GAO Disputes Union Conflict

Is there a built-in bias within the Government Accountability Office that would have it favor Boeing over Northrop Grumman in the KC-X tanker contest? There’s been a suggestion that Northrop might allege GAO would not be a “suitable arbiter” since some GAO employees now belong to a union that favors Boeing for the KC-X. However, Reuters news service reports that GAO spokesman Chuck Young said, “There’s no one who is a member of the union who works on bid protests; it’s completely separate, so there is no conflict of interest.” Apparently Sen. John McCain, who thinks the Pentagon has stacked the deck in Boeing’s favor, believes that GAO would be an impartial judge, at least he did last month. (Note: Boeing supporters believe the deck may tilt toward Northrop because the Administration, so far, vows not to consider the World Trade Organization’s ruling on Airbus subsidies.)