Congressional Inquiry Necessary for War Profiteering

Publisher Name: 
Campaign to Stop the War Profiteerers

The Pentagon and State Department criminal fraud
investigations of

Halliburton concerning their handling of a fuel contract in Iraq are an
important first step

- but point to the need for bold action on the part of the President and
Congress to

ensure accountability of military contractors, according to the Campaign
to Stop the War

Profiteers.

"The Pentagon's decision to investigate criminal wrong-doing by
Halliburton is

commendable and an important first step," said Chris Kromm, co-director of
the

Campaign. "However, the scope of the scandals surrounding Halliburton and
other

military contractors demands a full Congressional inquiry into the
politics surrounding

contract decisions, and the performance of corporations that have been
given billions of

taxpayer dollars."

"Halliburton has overcharged by at least $61 million for gasoline brought
in from Kuwait

to Iraq; Halliburton employees took at least $6.3 million in kickbacks for
steering a

subcontract for Iraq rebuilding to a Kuwaiti firm; and Halliburton was
charging the

government for three times as many meals as it was actually serving to
U.S. soldiers in

Kuwait over a nine month period," said William Hartung, senior fellow at
the World Policy

Institute at the New School and author of a forthcoming book on war
profiteering.

"In short, Halliburton is a desperate firm with a history of shaky ethical
practices that is

being allowed to take U.S. taxpayers for a ride in large part because of
its cozy

relationship with the Army and its powerful friend in the White House,
Vice President

Cheney," Hartung concluded.

Kromm noted that government agencies have yet to investigate San
Francisco-based

Bechtel which, despite being given over a billion for various
reconstruction projects in

Iraq, has been dogged by charges of waste, fraud and abuse. Kromm and the
Campaign

also expressed concern that the Pentagon official in charge of the
investigation, L. Jean

Lewis, is known as a highly partisan Republican activist, who was roundly
condemned

for her zealous leadership of the Whitewater legal case against President
Clinton in the

1990s.

Keith Ashdown, Vice-President of Policy at Taxpayers for Common Sense,
further

stated, "Recent revelations about questionable billing and procurement
practices have

raised important questions about the quality of government oversight in
Iraq and whether

the Bush Administration is adequately protecting the interests of American
taxpayers.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being wasted as a result of
unscrupulous conduct by

contractors and lax government controls and oversight. A bipartisan,
independent

commission is needed to review the performance of contractors under
existing contracts

and monitor the letting of subcontracts."

Campaign organizers say the ongoing revelations of war profiteering and
the Pentagon

criminal investigation add urgency to the need for reform measures,
including:

Establish A Bipartisan War Profiteering Commission: Congress should
establish a

bipartisan commission based on the Truman Committee model with the goal of
rooting

out waste and malfeasance. The committee would have the power to subpoena the

appropriate parties and conduct far-ranging investigations into the nature
of the

contracting process, and thus will perform an important public service to
U.S. taxpayers

in this time of huge government outlays and to the Iraqi people who are in
desperate

straits.

End "Cost-Plus" Contracts: As whistleblower and former Halliburton
purchasing

officer Henry Bunting stated in recent testimony to the Senate Democratic
Policy

Committee, Halliburton's unofficial motto in Iraq is "don't worry about
it, it's cost-plus."

Cost-Plus contracts remove any incentive for corporations to reduce costs;
the greater

the cost incurred in the project, the greater the profit for the company.

Organizations around the country held demonstrations yesterday against
corporate war

profiteering, with events in 20 cities including San Francisco, C.A.;
Houston, T.X.;

Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; and Washington, D.C. Activists called on Congress to
take

immediate action to hold military contractors accountable and for
legislation penalizing

companies that engage in war profiteering. They also demanded full respect
for

democracy and human rights in Iraq.

The Campaign to Stop the War Profiteers is a national initiative of the
Institute for

Southern Studies, a non-profit research, education and action center based
in Durham,

N.C. The Campaign has been endorsed by over 50 organizations and thousands of

activists nation-wide. For more information about the Institute and the
Campaign, visit

www.southernstudies.org

For more information, contact:

Rania Masri, Campaign to Stop the War Profiteers: 919.419.8311 x27


William Hartung, World Policy Institute: 212.229.5808 x106


Keith Ashdown, Taxpayers for Common Sense: 202.546.8500 x 110

AMP Section Name:War & Disaster Profiteering