Friday, March 14, 2003

Dick Cheney's Lengthy Shadow 

The UK's The Guardian Unlimited reports that Vice-President Dick Cheney still receives compensation from Halliburton:

"Cheney is still paid by Pentagon contractor

Bush deputy gets up to $1m from firm with Iraq oil deal

Robert Bryce in Austin, Texas and Julian Borger in Washington
Wednesday March 12, 2003
The Guardian

Halliburton, the Texas company which has been awarded the Pentagon's contract to put out potential oil-field fires in Iraq and which is bidding for postwar construction contracts, is still making annual payments to its former chief executive, the vice-president Dick Cheney.
The payments, which appear on Mr Cheney's 2001 financial disclosure statement, are in the form of "deferred compensation" of up to $1m (£600,000) a year.

When he left Halliburton in 2000 to become George Bush's running mate, he opted not to receive his leaving payment in a lump sum but instead have it paid to him over five years, possibly for tax reasons.

An aide to the vice president said yesterday: 'This is money that Mr Cheney was owed by the corporation as part of his salary for the time he was employed by Halliburton and which was a fixed amount paid to him over time.' "

Isn't this an incredible conflict of interest, as Halliburton wants to do business in the reconstruction of Iraq? Shouldn't Cheney have asked for the funds outright, after his election, in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. This is outrageous.

The article further states:

"Halliburton is one of five large US corporations - the others are the Bechtel Group, Fluor Corp, Parsons Corp, and the Louis Berger Group - invited to bid for contracts in what may turn out to be the biggest reconstruction project since the second world war.

It is estimated to be worth up to $900m for the preliminary work alone, such as rebuilding Iraq's hospitals, ports, airports and schools.

The contract winners will be able to establish a presence in post-Saddam Iraq that should give them an invaluable edge in winning future contracts.

The defence department contract awarded to the Halliburton subsidiary, Kellog, Brown & Root (KBR), to control oil fires if Saddam Hussein sets the well heads alight, will put the company in an excellent position to bid for huge contracts when Iraq's oil industry is rehabilitated."

However you look at it, Cheney continues to profit from a company that may do business with a nation we are about to go to war with. He should have completely divested himself of any interest in the company. Screw the taxes. He should have paid up, and paid his share in taxes, to avoid any appearance of impropriety.