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Republicans kill amendment to investigate Halliburton contract abuse; pledge hearings in December
10 Nov. 2005

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- -- Although Senate Republicans killed an amendment that would have established a special investigation into war profiteering by Halliburton and other companies by a vote of 53 to 44 today, they have pledged to investigate Halliburton before the end of the year.

The amendment, introduced by Senator Byron Dorgan, D-ND, during Senate consideration of the 2006 Defense Authorization bill, would have established a special committee modeled after Senator Harry Truman's World War II committee, which cost just thousands, but saved taxpayers $15 billion in 1940s' dollars. It was the third time in two years that the Senate rejected Dorgan's amendment.

After Dorgan introduced his amendment again yesterday, Sen. John Ensign, R-NV, made a surprise announcement that he would hold formal hearings into Halliburton's contract abuses in Iraq sometime in December. Ensign chairs a subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee - known as the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support.

For two years, the Republican-controlled Senate has resisted public calls for a formal investigation into Halliburton, once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, even though it is being investigated for numerous violations, including criminal bid-rigging, overcharging of taxpayers, bribery and criminally profiting in a nation believed by President Bush to sponsor terrorism.

Although Republicans maintain that the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction is conducting an investigation, the Senate has failed to provide its own oversight.

The Army Corps of Engineers' top civilian contracting official, Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, was demoted in August after blowing the whistle on the Corps and Halliburton. "I can unequivocally state that the abuse related to contracts awarded to [Halliburton] represents the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career," Greenhouse said.

There is no guarantee that Ensign's hearings will take place or be conducted in good faith, so we need to put the heat on:

Contact Sen. Ensign and congratulate him for his decision to hold formal hearings! Ask him to publicly release the dates on which the hearings will be held. Senator Ensign's telephone number is (202) 224-6244.

Contact your senators and ask them to support Sen. Ensign's decision to hold hearings, and call upon the Bush administration to ban Halliburton from any new contracts until all ongoing criminal investigations, as well as Ensign's pending investigation, are concluded.

US Capitol Switchboard - (202) 224-3121 or toll free: 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588

To contact your senators by email, click here.

To see how your senator voted on today's defeated Dorgan amendment, click here.

To see which members of Congress have received donations from Halliburton for the 2006 campaign cycle, click here.

Sen. Ensign's pledge: "I want to inform the Senator from North Dakota that, hopefully, when we come back for a couple days in December, as the chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, I plan on holding hearings on exactly this. I plan on pulling that curtain back. I plan on getting into the investigation in the same way as Harry Truman. If it happens to be it is embarrassing to the administration, we are going to find out the truth on this--just like Harry Truman went after those cost-plus contracts in those days. It is not only the soul-source aspect, it is also the fact they are cost-plus contracts."

The following senators are members of Ensign's subcommittee:

Senator Ensign, Subcommittee Chairman
Senator McCain
Senator Inhofe
Senator Roberts
Senator Sessions
Senator Chambliss
Senator Cornyn
Senator Thune

Senator Akaka, Ranking Member
Senator Byrd
Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Ben Nelson
Senator Dayton
Senator Bayh
Senator Clinton