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  • Monday, August 08, 2005

    Target the Corrupt Republican Campaign: Halliburton Republicans

    What do you give a company that overcharges and profits from the death of American soldiers? If you are George Bush you give them more contracts. That is the situation with Haliburton. I have been focusing on the corruption of individual Republican politicians so far. And I will continue that focus in the future. But this week I want to focus on another aspect of Republican scandals: the company called Haliburton.

    I will start by excerpting an article from Counter Punch:

    The damning investigation by the Defense Contract Audit Agency was completed in early October of 2004 and shipped up the line to Pentagon's dark triumverate, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld. And there it sat. The Pentagon's civilian leadership mothballed the explosive report for more than five months, until after the election, the inauguration, the State of the Union Address and the Defense Department budget request had all safely transpired.

    Even congress was denied a peak at the report's findings until mid-March 2005. The Pentagon rejected 12 separate requests from Congressman Henry Waxman, the California Democrat who has spearheaded the ad hoc congressional inquiry into Halliburton's contract abuse, seeking to examine the internal audits of Halliburton's $2.5 billion contract for fuel supplies and other services to the US military and occupation government in Iraq.

    Waxman charged that the Pentagon withheld the damaging reports at the behest of the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, the former CEO of Halliburton.

    The Halliburton audits were also concealed from a team of investigators from the United Nations, which is probing profiteering from oil contracts in Iraq. More than $1.5 billion of Halliburton's $2.5 billion deal was funded by Iraqi oil sales overseen by the UN.

    "The evidence suggests that the Pentagon used Iraqi oil proceeds to overpay Halliburton," says Waxman. "And then the company and the Pentagon sought to hide the evidence of these overchages from the international auditors."



    The most peculiar billing found in this limited series of transactions was a $27.5 million charge for shipping cooking gas and heating fuel that the Pentagon auditors valued at $82,000. This single invoice amounted to an overcharge of more than 335 times the value of the liquified natural gas delivered by Halliburton's subcontractors.

    The auditors examined only a single task order in Halliburton's scandal-plagued contract with the Army Corps of Engineers, yet their report lambasted nearly every aspect of the deal, from the no-bid award to the cost-plus nature of the contract to the almost total lack of supervision of the work orders and the subcontractors.

    From May 2003 to March 2004, Halliburton sent the Corps of Engineers bills totalling more than $875 million for supplies of fuel to US operations in Iraq. For this task order alone, the Pentagon auditors estimated that Halliburton overbilled the government by at least $108.4 million. That's real money, even by Pentagon standards.

    But that's only a rough opening bid for the true scale of the looting, in large part because the company's indefatigable stonewalling. The auditor's report accuses Halliburton of misleading the government inspectors at nearly every turn. For example, the auditors allege that Halliburton simply refused to hand over any information on its subcontractors in Kuwait. "Halliburton failed to demonstrate its prices for Kuwait fuel were 'fair and reasonable'", the auditors wrote in their report.

    Similarly, Halliburton kept the Pentagon investigators in the dark about the prices it paid for purchasing fuel from Turkey and Jordan.

    The Defense Contract Audit Agency report comes on top of previous investigations tagging Halliburton, and its Kellogg, Brown and Root subsidiary, for more than $442 million in "unsupported" billings for its work in Iraq, including charges for meals that were never served, $45 cases of pop, unnecessary heavy equipment, tailoring fees and $152,000 for movie screenings. In all a report prepared by the Democratic Policy Committee estimates that Halliburton's overcharges in Iraq alone exceed $1 billion.


    And this company is STILL in charge of our operations in Iraq. They STILL get no-bid contracts. We are rewarding blatant corruption. This is TYPICAL of the Republican attitude towards corruption—reward it! But it gets worse.

    And now we get back to our old friend, Tom DeLay. From the Campaign for America’s Future:

    Tom DeLay's blatant abuse of power knows no bounds. In the dark of night (around 4 a.m. on Wednesday morning), DeLay slipped a $1.5 billion giveaway into the energy bill to big oil companies - including Halliburton and Marathon Oil. No Surprise. Oil and gas companies are DeLay's top career contributors.

    Tom DeLay's dirty deed benefits his own oil and gas buddies in his hometown of Sugar Land, Texas. His slippery insertion doubles the tax incentives to the richest oil companies of them all, Halliburton and Marathon Oil. As watchdog Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) so aptly said, "If Congress has an extra $1.5 billion to give away, the money should be used to help families struggling to pay for soaring gasoline prices - not to further enrich oil and gas companies that are rolling in profits."


    And here is more from American Progress


    DeLay's Sweetheart Deal

    Majority Leader Tom DeLay may have faded from the front pages, but he's still up to his dirty tricks. Yesterday, Rep. Henry Waxman revealed that DeLay slipped a $1.5 billion giveaway to the oil industry, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas into the energy bill. But it gets worse. The provision was "mysteriously inserted" into the text of the energy bill "after the conference was closed, so members of the conference committee had no opportunity to consider or reject this measure."

    THE ANATOMY OF A SCAM: The $1.5 billion is designated for "oil and natural gas drilling research." Ordinarily, any company could apply for these funds directly from the government. But DeLay does things a little differently. In this case, the bulk of the money must be handed over to "a corporation that is constructed as a consortium." As it so happens, "the leading contender for this contract appears to be the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) consortium, housed in the Texas Energy Center in Sugar Land, Texas," Tom DeLay's home district. RPSEA "has been advocating such a research program and is in a better position than any other group." (DeLay testified in support of the program before a House subcommittee last year.) If RPSEA wins the contract they can keep "up to 10% of the funds - in this case, over $100 million - in administrative expenses."

    DISPENSING WITH DEMOCRACY: The $1.5 billion giveaway was added to the bill after "Democratic negotiators went home Tuesday at 4 a.m. believing a deal had been finalized and the provision wasn't in the bill." The program was not included in the draft version of the bill and a DeLay spokesman said "he could not explain how the item was added to the final version of legislation prepared by the Senate and House negotiators."

    DELAY - ROBIN HOOD IN REVERSE: The broader question is: why do taxpayers need to provide another huge subsidy oil and gas companies? As Waxman notes "The oil and gas industry is reporting record income and profits. According to one analyst, the net income of the top oil companies will total $230 billion in 2005." Halliburton, which is a member of the consortium, would be eligible to "receive awards from the over $1 billion fund administered by the consortium."



    Tom DeLay added a $1.5 billion giveaway to oil companies, including the corrupt Haliburton, into the Energy Bill that Congress just passed. So Tom DeLay, mired in corruption himself, is giving OUR TAX MONEY to Haliburton, the company already caught in the act of bilking taxpayers.

    I think we need to really shout about this to the media! Republican corruption is feeding off our hard-earned dollars! Write the media and let them know what you think of Haliburton’s corrupt war profiteering and corrupt Tom DeLay’s use of our tax money to help out corrupt Haliburton.

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