I’ve previously reported on the connection between Vice President Dick Cheney and the Texas based Halliburton Company: Vice President Richard Cheney – Unrestrained Arrogance 1/31/07. They are joined at the hip with the result taxpayers have been robbed by this corporate giant. It is a classic "military industrial complex" illustration of what is wrong with unregulated revolving door relationships between big business and government. Cheney is the former CEO of Halliburton whose world wide business activities involve a number of subsidiaries. Its business connection to this administration activities has involved billions of taxpayer dollars. Cheney served as CEO from 1995 to 2000. After leaving the company and while serving as Vice President he is still being paid some one million dollars a year in deferred compensation. Under CEO Cheney the company did some $73 million in sales with Saddam & Iraq. Not only that, under CEO Cheney the number of Halliburton subsidiaries doing business out of off shore tax havens increased from nine to forty four resulting in Halliburton going from a $300 million dollar tax payment to a $85 million dollar tax refund.
As Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush’s father, he saw that Halliburton had favorable treatment in taxpayer paid contracts. Then after he left government, he became CEO and the company suddenly went from 73rd to 18th on the Pentagon’s list of favored contractors. It became involved in some $3.8 Billion dollars in taxpayer paid government dealings. After being elected Vice President the company continued to be favored in government contracts without concern to conflicts of interest from the revolving door roles of Mr. Cheney as CEO and then Vice President.
The company has had a history of overcharging the government without losing it’s ability to continue to do government work. The SEC has been investigating whether the company artificially inflated revenue by $234 million dollars over four years of government work. In 2005 Halliburton was accused of a one billion dollar overcharge involving its contracts in Iraq. A whistle blower said in a Congressional committee hearing that "I can unequivocally state the abuse related to contracts awarded…represents the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career." The Associated Press now reports that $10 billion dollars has been squandered by the U.S. Government in Iraq reconstruction because of fraud and overcharging. Of this amount $2.7 billion involved Halliburton. But, there is still another $300 billion in contracts which government auditors have yet to review involving Iraq contracts. Rep Henry Waxman (D-CA) said "It’s no wonder that taxpayers all across the country are fed up and demanding that we bring real oversight to the ‘anything goes’ world of Iraq reconstruction." This administration and the Republican Congress have allowed an "anything goes" relationship with big business to continue in spite of the spiraling costs of Iraq, an increasing federal debt and a free hand for corporate giants to do what they want. It’s no coincidence that Halliburton has been so favored by government contracts without auditor oversight while Mr. Cheney serves as Vice President. It’s time for Congress to put a stop to this abuse.