...the Securities and Exchange Commission declined to make public testimony provided by Vice President Dick Cheney during the agency's probe into Halliburton, which Mr. Cheney ran as chief executive from 1995 to 2000, when he resigned to join George W. Bush in a run for the White House.
Meanwhile, regarding Mr. Cheney's testimony, "Since the records were compiled for law-enforcement purposes, the release of which could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement activities undertaken or likely to be undertaken by the Commission, I am withholding them," wrote Valerie Lewis, the branch chief in the SEC's Freedom of Information Act Office.
The SEC had investigated the company's failure to disclose a 1998 accounting change made when Mr. Cheney was still running Halliburton. It found Halliburton's change in its accounting treatment for cost overruns on construction projects was appropriate, but that failing to disclose it for a year and a half misled investors. The agency said the then-new accounting treatment reduced losses on several large construction projects.
You can almost understand Cheney's eagerness to mislead voters, or Congress, or US soldiers -- but misleading Halliburton investors? That's downright unenthical, and it sends the wrong message to potential campaign contributors who expect something tangible from their investment in a Bush-Cheney administration. Fortunately, once in office, Cheney was able to focus his generosity on Halliburton investors after his initial apparent deception.
The SEC, four years after the reasonable onset of investigative action against Cheney/Halliburton, has suppressed its role as the voice of the small investor and instead is doing its part to insulate Cheney's reputation and its necessary shroud of secrecy.