Payback: 99 percent of political donations from Halliburton's board of directors go to Republicans
3 Aug. 2004
WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- Halliburton's board of directors has given $365,065 to Republican candidates and political action committees over the 2004 campaign season, a HalliburtonWatch analysis reveals. The board, comprised mostly of individuals from the energy industry, gave $365,065 (or 99 percent) to the Republicans and $4,000 (or less than 1 percent) to the Democrats. Halliburton's political action committee gave another $133,500 to political campaigns, with $120,000 (or 90 percent) going to the Republicans. The dollar amounts are current through June 30, 2004 and were obtained from the Center for Responsive Politics. ###
The biggest political donor on Halliburton's board is Ray Hunt, who is the chief executive officer of Hunt Oil, a privately-owned oil company with operations in the Middle East, Africa and South America. Its major oil production operations are located in the United States, Canada and Yemen.
Hunt, who inherited his "success" from his wealthy father H.L. Hunt, is notorious for protecting his inheritance by supporting pro-oil causes around the world, including fellow oil man President George W. Bush, who appointed Hunt as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee’s Victory 2000 Committee. During the 2000 campaign, Hunt was designated as one of the 241 Bush "Pioneers" because he raised more than $100,000 in campaign donations from his family, friends and colleagues. Former President George H.W. Bush's press secretary in the White House, Jim Oberwetter, had worked for Ray Hunt for nearly three decades.
Federal election records show that Hunt and his wife have so far donated $190,000 of their own money to the 2004 election cycle. All of that money went to Republican candidates or Republican political action committees.
One month after Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Hunt was appointed by President Bush to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. He also serves as chairman of the board for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and is a member of the National Petroleum Council, an industry trade group that advises the president on energy policy. Vice President Cheney also served as a member of the Council during his tenure as CEO for Halliburton. In addition, Hunt serves on the board of trustees for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a foreign policy think tank which often supports causes that benefit global oil and gas projects in the Third World. One of those projects, known as the Camisea Natural Gas Project, is located in the Peruvian Amazon rain forest where both Hunt Oil and Halliburton's KBR subsidiary will build a natural gas plant. Environmental groups say it is the most environmentally damaging project in the Amazon Basin. The (London) Independent newspaper reported that the project "will enrich some of [President Bush's] closest corporate campaign contributors" but that it "risks the destruction of one of the world's remaining pristine stretches of rain forest and threatens the lives of indigenous peoples."
The second biggest campaign contributor on Halliburton's board of directors is J. Landis Martin, who gave $87,500 to Republican candidates and political action committees in Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Illinois and Iowa. Martin was the chief executive of Baroid Corp. until it became a subsidiary of Halliburton through the 1998 merger of Halliburton and Dresser Industries. Today, he serves as chairman of the board, CEO and president of Titanium Metals Corp. (TIMET). TIMET is a Denver-based manufacturer of titanium metals used in the manufacture of military and civilian aircraft, military armor, offshore oil and gas production installations and automobiles. Sixty-eight percent of TIMET's revenue is derived from sales to the aerospace industry (57 percent to commercial aerospace and 11 percent to military aerospace). TIMET's shipments to military aerospace companies increased by 15 percent in 2003. In a filing with the federal government, it said "the importance of military markets to the titanium industry is expected to rise in coming years as defense spending budgets increase in reaction to terrorist activities and global conflicts."
The third biggest campaign contributor on Halliburton's board is Cecil J. "Pete" Silas (or C.J. Silas), retired chief executive of Phillips Petroleum Co., now known as ConocoPhillips. Silas donated $37,750 to Republican candidates and political action committees in Texas, Oklahoma and Georgia. His largest donation was $30,000 to the Republican National Committee. ConocoPhillips is a leading petroleum exploration and production company. It is also involved in oil refining and marketing and in the manufacture, distribution and export of a wide variety of chemicals. In addition to serving on Halliburton's board, Silas has served as a member of, and donor to, the Council on Foreign Relations, a far-right wing think tank that advocates U.S. military and corporate intervention into the economic and political affairs of Third World nations. He also served on the Atlantic Council's Working Group that produced a May 2001 report calling for the end of U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, a nation President Bush says sponsors terrorism. The Council's 2001 report said, "Iran currently accounts for 5 percent of worldwide oil production and is the second largest oil exporter in OPEC. The country needs significantly increased capital investment to maintain its current level of production...." The Council lamented that "U.S. companies are losing opportunities [in Iran] to their European and Asian competitors." Vice President Cheney had also called for ending sanctions against Iran while chief executive of Halliburton. Moreover, under pressure from Big Oil, the Republican Congress in May refused to expand sanctions that would have prohibited Halliburton from selling equipment to Iran through its foreign subsidiaries.
The fourth biggest campaign contributor on Halliburton's board is Kenneth Derr, retired chief executive of Chevron, now known as ChevronTexaco -- a leading refiner and marketer of oil products worldwide. Derr's $29,000 donation includes $25,000 to the Republican National Committee and $4,000 to the Bush/Cheney campaign. In 1998, Derr said, "Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas - reserves I'd love Chevron to have access to."
The fifth biggest campaign contributor on the board is Jay A. Precourt, chief executive of the Denver-based Scissor Tail Energy, LLC. Precourt has so far donated $9,815 in 2004 to Republicans, including $1,315 to the Colorado Senate bid of Pete Coors, chairman of Coors Brewing Co., which is also an unabashed supporter of Republican causes. Scissor Tail Energy is a gatherer, transporter and processor of natural gas and natural gas liquids. Precourt is also chairman of Hermes Consolidated, Inc., a gatherer, transporter and refiner of crude oil and refined products.
The remaining board members donated $5,000 or less to Republican political campaigns, including $5,000 donated to Halliburton's political action committee by the company's chief executive, David Lesar.
Robert Crandall, the retired chief executive of AMR, which owns American Airlines, was the only board member to donate money to the Democrats. He donated $2,000 to Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign and $2,000 to Gov. Howard Dean's failed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Of the board members who donated money to political campaigns, Mr. Crandall was the only board member who did not donate to the Republicans.
According to a report from the Center for Responsive Politics, President Bush has received the most campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry of any politician since 1998 (1.7 million dollars). That total is more than three times the amount given to the next largest recipient of the industry's campaign contributions.