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from Daily Mislead
June 15, 2004

Vice President Dick Cheney has repeatedly assured Americans that he has positively no involvement in directing billions of taxpayer dollars in no-bid contracts to Halliburton, his former employer. In September of 2003, he told NBC's Meet the Press that his office has "absolutely no influence of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form of contracts."[1] In January of 2004, he told Fox News Radio, "I don't have anything to do with the contracting process,[2] and I wouldn't know how to manipulate the process if I wanted to." But, according to new evidence, Cheney's office "coordinated"[3] the Halliburton contracts and had the Pentagon specifically seek its input in constructing what ultimately became a multi-billion-dollar contract.

According to the New York Times, the Pentagon discussed a $1.9 million planning contract with "senior Bush administration officials, including the Vice President's Chief of Staff"[4] before inking the deal. According to the Los Angeles Times, three companies were vying for the lucrative contract which was seen as the precursor to a much larger, $7 billion contract. But instead of following the normal competitive civil service contracting process, the Times reports that Bush administration political appointees overruled the advice of Army lawyers and simply gave Halliburton the contract.[5] That decision was then brought to Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who reviewed the contract and raised no objections to the non-competitive process.

Cheney has denied having any financial stake in Halliburton receiving massive government contracts, claiming, "I severed my ties nearly four years ago when I ran for Vice President."[6] But Cheney still receives about $150,000 a year in deferred compensation from Halliburton[7] and still owns about 433,000 company stock options[8]; options which could become more valuable as the company's revenues rise. That fact was enough to lead the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service to bill Cheney's continued financial ties a "potential conflict of interest."[9]

And yet despite all these questions, the Bush administration's allies today formally blocked any testimony from Halliburton employees about the matter.[10] Specifically, when Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) presented a slate of witnesses to the House Government Reform Committee, they were prevented from appearing by Republicans. That move led Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to demand the appointment of a special counsel to independently investigate the situation.[11]

1. "Cheney denies role in Iraq deal", The Boston Globe, 9/15/2003, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=40365.
2. "Cheney faults 'desperate' attacks on Halliburton", CNN.com, 1/23/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=40366.
3. "Cheney Coordinated Halliburton Iraq Contract: Report", Common Dreams News Center, 5/31/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=40367.
4. "White House Officials and Cheney Aide Approved Halliburton Contract in Iraq, Pentagon Says", The New York Times, 6/14/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=40368.
5. "Appointee's Role in Halliburton Pact Told", Los Angeles Times, 6/14/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=40369.
6. "VP Interview with Wolf Blitzer, CNN", WhiteHouse.gov, 3/2/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=40370.
7. "Contract Sport", The New Yorker, 2/9/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=40371.
8. "Halliburton asks employees to help defend company", CNN.com, 10/25/2003, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=40372.
9. "Cheney may still have Halliburton ties", CNNmoney.com, 9/25/2003, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=40373.
10. "Whistle-blowers say Halliburton rife with waste", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 6/15/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=40374.
11. "Senator Seeks Halliburton Special Counsel", Reuters, 6/14/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=40375.

Posted: June 21, 2004


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