Boeing is under renewed scrutiny as a whistleblower has come forward with allegations of misconduct just hours before CEO David Calhoun is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill. Senator Richard Blumenthal's office announced that Sam Mohawk, a quality assurance inspector at Boeing's Renton, Washington facility, claims the company has been cutting corners by losing track of non-conforming parts, some of which may have ended up in newly built airplanes. This revelation adds to the existing pressure on Boeing to address its safety culture and practices.

According to Blumenthal, Mohawk has accused Boeing of instructing employees to conceal defective parts from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and retaliating against those who report such issues. "He said that he has been told by his supervisors to conceal this evidence from the FAA, and that he is being retaliated against as well," Blumenthal stated.

In response, a Boeing spokesperson confirmed that the company had received the documents provided to Blumenthal and is currently reviewing the claims. "We continuously encourage employees to report all concerns as our priority is to ensure the safety of our airplanes and the flying public," the spokesperson said.

Calhoun's appearance before the Senate subcommittee, titled "Boeing's broken safety culture," comes at a critical juncture for the company. Previous whistleblowers have also accused Boeing of compromising safety to cut costs. In his prepared remarks, Calhoun is expected to acknowledge problems with the company's culture but will push back against claims of retaliation. "Our culture is far from perfect, but we are taking action and making progress. We understand the gravity, and we are committed to moving forward," he will say.

The hearing will likely address recent incidents, including a January event where a door plug blew out of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max shortly after takeoff. Blumenthal plans to reference this incident in his opening statement, saying that it "blew off the façade" of Boeing's safety promises. He will criticize Calhoun for not sufficiently addressing the root causes of Boeing's safety issues.

Boeing has been under intense scrutiny since the fatal crashes of two 737 Max jets in 2018 and 2019, which killed 346 people. The crashes were linked to a design flaw, leading to a 20-month grounding of the aircraft. Despite these events, the company continues to face allegations of safety lapses and inadequate oversight.

Mohawk's allegations are particularly troubling. He claims that in June 2023, when the FAA notified Boeing of an upcoming inspection at its Renton plant, the company instructed employees to move non-conforming parts out of sight. Some of these parts were later lost and may have been installed in new planes. Mohawk also alleges that in August 2023, Boeing told employees to delete records about non-conforming parts, leading him to file a complaint that was ignored.

Senator Blumenthal emphasized the seriousness of these allegations. "His account of the retaliation against him is particularly chilling-the pressure that was exerted on him to stay silent. They have a program called Speak Up, but he was told to shut up," Blumenthal said.

The hearing will explore whether Boeing's culture has improved under Calhoun's leadership. Calhoun, who took over as CEO in January 2020, has faced criticism for not making substantial changes. "Much has been said about Boeing's culture. We've heard those concerns loud and clear," he will say, according to his prepared remarks.

Despite these assurances, the company's safety record remains under question. A preliminary investigation into the Alaska Airlines incident found that the plane left Boeing's factory without the necessary bolts to secure a door plug. Boeing has yet to identify who installed the defective part, drawing further criticism from regulators and Congress.

Calhoun's testimony will likely be his last before Congress, as he plans to retire by the end of the year. His successor has not been named, and the company continues to face multiple federal investigations. In January 2021, Boeing agreed to a probationary period to avoid prosecution over the 737 Max crashes. However, the Alaska Airlines incident, which occurred just before the end of this period, has prompted the Justice Department to consider criminal charges.

Family members of the crash victims, some of whom will attend the hearing, are calling for Boeing to be held criminally accountable. "I think there is mounting evidence, perhaps overwhelming evidence now, that prosecution should be pursued," Blumenthal told CNN.