Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Unfortunately, I can't link to The Wall Street Journal since all of their news content is behind a subscriber barrier...but The American Prospect is there with this...

Halliburton Co. has told the Pentagon that two employees took kickbacks valued at up to $6 million in return for awarding a Kuwaiti-based company with lucrative work supplying U.S. troops in Iraq.
The disclosure is the first firm indication of corruption involving U.S.-funded projects in Iraq and raises new questions about Halliburton's dealings there. The company's work already is being scrutinized because of accusations that the U.S. government was overcharged for gasoline under another controversial contract.

Halliburton has strenuously defended its Iraq work as fairly priced and free of taint. A discovery of kickbacks could expose the company to hefty fines and other punishments such as potential fraud charges. At the least, contracting experts say, Halliburton will be required to reimburse the money.

Any blow could be softened by the fact that Halliburton itself disclosed the misconduct to the Pentagon inspector general's office this week. That disclosure came just days after the top Defense Department auditor asked the office to investigate whether Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root overcharged for fuel deliveries by more than $61 million.

The latest revelation, though, is sure to increase the already intense scrutiny Halliburton has received from congressional Democrats, some of whom charge that the Houston-based company benefited from political favoritism in securing lucrative work in Iraq. The news also is likely to further raise suspicions abroad that Iraq reconstruction work is largely benefiting U.S. companies and their employees.

Vice President Dick Cheney, who was chairman of Halliburton until he left in 2000, defended the company Wednesday in a Fox Radio Network interview. "They get unfairly maligned simply because of their past association with me," he said.