Friday, September 26, 2003
A Congressional Research Service report released yesterday concluded that federal ethics laws treat Vice President Cheney's annual deferred compensation checks and unexercised stock options as continuing financial interests in the Halliburton Co.
Democrats have aggressively challenged Cheney's claim that he has no financial ties to Halliburton, despite those arrangements.
The Houston-based energy conglomerate has been awarded more than $2 billion in contracts for rebuilding Iraq, including one worth $1.22 billion that was awarded on a noncompetitive basis.
The report, from the law division of the congressional research arm of the Library of Congress, said deferred salary or compensation received from a private corporation -- as well as unexercised stock options -- may represent a continuing financial interest as defined by federal ethics laws.
The seven-page report, dated Monday, did not name Cheney or Halliburton, but addressed the general legal question. It was prepared at the request of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who said Cheney should "stop dodging the issue with legalese, and acknowledge his continued financial ties with Halliburton to the American people."
Cheney, who was Halliburton's chairman and chief executive, has disclosed the payments and the 433,333 options. The report suggests no illegality.
Catherine Martin, Cheney's public affairs director, said: "The vice president has no financial interest in Halliburton. He has no stake in the company. He will in no way benefit from the rise or fall of Halliburton's stock price or the success or failure of the company."
Cheney said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sept. 14 that he has "no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had now for over three years." His assertion came during a discussion of Halliburton's contracts in Iraq. Cheney said he had "severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interests."
Democrats disputed that because Cheney received deferred compensation of $147,579 in 2001 and $162,392 in 2002, with payments scheduled to continue for three more years.
You see, Mr. VP, lying about your money to the American people makes you an asshole. Handing out government contracts to a company in which you have a personal stake makes you a penis. Denying everything and hiding away behind the walls of government makes you a pussy. In short, Mr. VP, you are nothing but a portal for feces and urine. Does that make you feel good?
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