Jun 15, 2004
Top executives of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former company, Halliburton, will be asked to testify next month before a House committee investigating potential favoritism and waste in Iraq reconstruction contracts.
In a bipartisan agreement, announced Tuesday despite political bickering over Halliburton’s role in Iraq, Government Reform Committee leaders said they would invite testimony from Halliburton’s chief executive officer, David Lesar, and the CEO of the company’s KBR subsidiary, Randy Harl.
At Tuesday’s hearing, committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., and Waxman agreed that the Halliburton executives would be asked to testify and the lawmakers said they would work together to determine whether documents should be subpoenaed. Waxman said he also wants to subpoena Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to produce records on Department of Defense contracts with Cheney’s office.
Waxman said he also wants records on construction giant Bechtel, which has a major Iraq contract, and several lawmakers added companies they want to include in the investigation.
Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall was noncommittal on whether the executives would agree to testify.
Waxman responded [to accusations of partisanship] with examples of waste, fraud and abuse that, he said, came from former Halliburton employees who spoke privately with the committee. Among the allegations:
• A former logistics specialist said Halliburton charged taxpayers $10,000 a day to house employees in a five-star hotel in Kuwait instead of the $600 per day cost of using the same air-conditioned tents that house U.S. troops.
• A former ``convoy commander’’ said Halliburton removed spare tires from its new $85,000 trucks, and gave instructions to abandon or ``torch’’ the vehicles if they had a flat tire.
Waxman also said the cost of a food service contract was reduced by 40 percent after Halliburton’s middleman role was eliminated.
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