culture, politics, commentary, criticism

Thursday, February 12, 2004
"Don't worry about price. It's cost plus." Whistleblowing at Halliburton (David Ivanovich,
Houston Chronicle):
Two former Halliburton Co. employees are accusing the Houston firm of routinely overcharging American taxpayers for work performed under a military contract, two Democratic lawmakers say.

Halliburton, which as a government contractor is supposed to keep a lid on costs, selected embroidered towels when ordinary ones would have cost a third as much and leased cars, trucks SUVS and vans for up $7,500 a month, the would-be whistleblowers said.

Indeed, the motto at Halliburton was "Don't worry about price. It's cost plus," one of the ex-workers told lawmakers.

That's a reference to a type of government contract in which a company like Halliburton would be reimbursed for the cost of providing a service, plus receive an additional percentage as profit.

One of the former employees, a field buyer named Henry Bunting, stationed in Kuwait, is scheduled to testify Friday before a panel of Senate Democrats.

These latest allegations were made public today by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., both frequent Halliburton critics, in a letter to William Reed, director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency.

If the former employees' "accounts are accurate, the company is systematically overcharging the taxpayer on hundreds of routine requisitions every day. While the dollar amounts involved in any single procurement may be small, the cumulative cost to the taxpayer could be enormous," the lawmakers wrote.

Halliburton's subsidiary KBR, formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root, builds bases, cooks food, washes clothes, delivers mail and provides other basic services for U.S. troops under a 10-year contract with the Pentagon valued at $3.6 billion.
Embroidered towels? $7,500 a month cars and SUVs?

Who do Pentagon contractors think they are — Tyco?

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