FEBRUARY 27, 2006
Even though a Pentagon audit revealed that a Halliburton subsidiary overcharged the United States Government more than $250 million for work in Iraq, the Army announced that it will reimburse the company for the entire $2.41 billion no-bid contract.
The Army’s explanation is unsettling with a spokeswoman named Rhonda James saying that “the contractor is not required to perform perfectly to be entitled to reimbursement.“
The contract itself caused lots of controversy in 2003 when it was discovered that it was awarded without competitive bidding. Accusations began circulating that Dick Cheney’s connections to Halliburton (he was CEO before becoming vice president) secured the lucrative deal.
Disregarding the Pentagon’s Defense Contract Audit Agency report that Halliburton clearly over billed the government, Army officials justified the practice by saying that in the haste and peril of war, the company had largely done as well as could be expected therefore it should be reimbursed for its costs.
California Congressman Henry Waxman, a member of the Committee on Government Reform, was outraged by the Army’s decision and said: “Halliburton gouged the taxpayer, government auditors caught the company red-handed, yet the Pentagon ignored the auditors and paid Halliburton hundreds of millions of dollars and a huge bonus.”
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