Untitled Document
Taking a Closer Look at the Stories Ignored by the Corporate Media
Donate | Fair Use Notice | Who We Are | Contact

NEWS
All News
9-11
Corporatism
Disaster in New Orleans
Economics
Environment
Globalization
Government / The Elite
Human Rights
International Affairs
Iraq War
London Bombing
Media
Police State / Military
Science / Health
Voting Integrity
War on Terrorism
Miscellaneous

COMMENTARY
All Commentaries
9-11
CIA
Corporatism
Economics
Government / The Elite
Imperialism
Iraq War
Media
Police State / Military
Science / Health
Voting Integrity
War on Terrorism

SEARCH/ARCHIVES
Advanced Search
View the Archives

E-mail this Link   Printer Friendly

GOVERNMENT / THE ELITE -
-

CHENEY AND HALLIBURTON

Posted in the database on Monday, April 24th, 2006 @ 12:02:10 MST (1491 views)
by Marie Cocco    OregonLive.com  

Untitled Document

Last year's paychecks heighten the perception our vice president is tainted by personal interests

It's not the $2 million tax refund. It's the $211,465.

That's the amount of deferred compensation Vice President Dick Cheney received from Halliburton last year. It's the final payment, his lawyer says, of money due Cheney under an agreement that had the giant oil-services firm paying him for his past services as its chief executive officer.

The payments continued after Cheney was elected and became chief honcho of American energy policy and one of the chief architects of the war in Iraq.

The size of the refund owed to the vice president and his wife, Lynne, was the news event of the tax-filing season. What headline writer could resist a to-the-rich-go-the-refunds story?

But we should not begrudge the Cheneys. The rich are indeed different from you and me. They have vastly more wealth, pay more taxes and get more back when their complex and ever-so-legal deals net a refund.

The far smaller sum from Halliburton is a more exquisite symbol of the vice president's unrepentant arrogance.

The $211,465 Halliburton paid him in 2005 was more than Cheney's government salary of $205,031. So who does he really work for?

Us, supposedly.

That's why the Halliburton payout, which Cheney negotiated before he ran for vice president in 2000, has always been controversial. And it's why Cheney's dismissive attitude toward the appearance of a conflict of interest should have been taken more seriously back at the beginning -- that is, before the word "Halliburton" became associated with the phrase "waste, fraud and abuse."

From the start, Cheney insisted that the Halliburton payments were an entitlement, earnings from his hard work as chief executive. And they are. But he also has misrepresented his continued financial ties to the company.

Cheney was being paid the deferred compensation every year, under an arrangement that guaranteed payment, with interest, even if Halliburton went bankrupt. He also has held stock options worth millions, and many of these were exercised by an independent agent in 2005, with the proceeds rolled over into charitable contributions.

The special administrator Cheney established when he took office still controls Halliburton options currently worth about $1 million, according to Cheney's lawyer, Terrence O'Donnell.

The ethics laws that apply to executive branch personnel are intended to eliminate even the appearance that an official's policy decisions might be influenced by personal finances.

"A public servant owes undivided loyalty to the government," according to a 2003 Congressional Research Service report on the Cheney situation.

Any advice or recommendation the official makes must "not be tainted, even unintentionally, with influence from private or personal financial interests." The president and vice president are specifically excluded from the criminal sanctions that might apply to underlings. The risk of public opprobrium is supposed to work instead.

Would oilman Cheney, working with oilman George W. Bush, have made the same decisions favoring oil-industry giveaways and invading oil-rich Iraq had the vice president not kept getting money from Halliburton? Probably.

But at least taxpayers would not now suffer the affront of watching the vice president's benefactor gouging us -- while simultaneously paying him.

The initial no-bid contract of $2.41 billion granted to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root to deliver fuel and repair oil equipment in Iraq was a debacle of cost overruns and billing irregularities.

Pentagon auditors questioned $263 million of the bills as inflated or unsupported by documents. But the Army decided to pay almost all of the questionable costs, according to The New York Times.

Through it all, Halliburton has been awarded profits as a percentage of its costs -- including those costs questioned as excessive. It got separate government bonuses as well.

Cheney insists he hasn't been involved in any matters involving his old company. Nothing has emerged to directly contradict him. But surely the vice president knows of Halliburton's shoddy performance and its preying on the American taxpayer.

Another public official -- perhaps someone as wealthy as Cheney -- might have forfeited the Halliburton money. But not the vice president we have. 2006, Washington Post Writers Group

Marie Cocco: mariecocco@washpost.com



Go to Original Article >>>

The views expressed herein are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Looking Glass News. Click the disclaimer link below for more information.
Email: editor@lookingglassnews.org.

E-mail this Link   Printer Friendly




Untitled Document
Disclaimer
Donate | Fair Use Notice | Who We Are | Contact
Copyright 2005 Looking Glass News.