Wednesday, February 11
What did the Vice-President do for Halliburton?
By Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, February 9, 2004
Vice-President Dick Cheney is well known for his discretion, but his official White House biography, as posted on his Web site, may exceed even his own stringent standards. It traces the sixty-three years from his birth, in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1941, through college and graduate school, and describes his increasingly powerful jobs in Washington. Yet one chapter of Cheney's life is missing. The record notes that he has been a "businessman" but fails to mention the five extraordinarily lucrative years that he spent, immediately before becoming Vice-President, as chief executive of Halliburton, the world's largest oil-and-gas-services company. The conglomerate, which is based in Houston, is now the biggest private contractor for American forces in Iraq; it has received contracts worth some eleven billion dollars for its work there.
Cheney earned forty-four million dollars during his tenure at Halliburton. Although he has said that he "severed all my ties with the company," he continues to collect deferred compensation worth approximately a hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year, and he retains stock options worth more than eighteen million dollars. He has announced that he will donate proceeds from the stock options to charity.
Such actions have not quelled criticism. Halliburton has become a favorite target for Democrats, who use it as shorthand for a host of doubts about conflicts of interest, undue corporate influence, and hidden motives behind Bush Administration policy -- in particular, its reasons for going to war in Iraq.
Like Dow Chemical during the Vietnam War, or Enron three years ago, Halliburton has evolved into a symbol useful in rallying the opposition. On the night that John Kerry won the Iowa caucuses, he took a ritual swipe at the Administration's "open hand" for Halliburton. [...more]