Halliburton -- Building an Unsustainable Future

Mother Jones posted an update on a Halliburton scandal that has been percolating for about three years now.  Here's Halliburton's somewhat candid telling of the situation:

We received and responded to an inquiry in mid-2001 from OFAC with respect to the operations in Iran by a Halliburton subsidiary that is incorporated in the Cayman Islands. The OFAC inquiry requested information with respect to compliance with the Iranian Transaction Regulations. Our 2001 written response to OFAC stated that we believed that we were in full compliance with applicable sanction regulations. In January 2004, we received a follow-up letter from OFAC requesting additional information. We are responding to questions raised in the most recent letter. We have been asked to and could be required to respond to other questions and inquiries about operations in countries with trade restrictions and economic embargoes.

--from the Halliburton 2003 Annual Report

In other words, while Dick Cheney was still CEO (1995-2000) of the company, Halliburton was circumventing US trade sanctions against Iran by allegedly acting through an arms length subsidiary in the Caymans.  That claim was discredited in  January on 60 Minutes.  

60 Minutes was expecting to find a bustling business, but, to our surprise, Walker told us that while Halliburton Products and Services was registered at this address, it was in name only. There is no actual office here or anywhere else in the Caymans. And there are no employees on site. We were told that if mail for the Halliburton subsidiary comes to this address, they re-route it to Halliburton headquarters in Houston.
You can read the MoJo post here.  Also, read this great timeline of Cheney's involvement with Halliburton.  It is exhaustively referenced, and includes interesting tidbits like:
  • Under Cheney’s leadership, Halliburton moves up from 73rd to 18th on the Pentagon’s list of top contractors.

  • Cheney contributes to the creation of an influential right-wing policy group called the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). The group advocates for the removal of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime as early as January 1998, and is later revealed to be the intellectual center of the drive to war in Iraq.

  • Cheney appears in an Arthur Andersen promotional video praising the firm’s accounting practices

  • While Vice President Cheney was Halliburton’s CEO, the number of its subsidiary companies in offshore tax havens increased from 9 (in 1995) to 44 (in 1999). One of these subsidiaries (Halliburton Products and Services Ltd.), incorporated in the Caiman Islands, is used since 2000 to get around sanctions on doing business in Iran. At the same time, Halliburton’s federal taxes dropped dramatically from $302 million in 1998 to an $85 million rebate in 1999.
I guess betraying the public trust is only difficult the first time.  After that, it gets much easier.  I doubt Cheney, the man who could be POTUS at any time if some misfortune should befall George Walker Bush, harbors any cumbersome vestiges of conscience anymore. 

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