WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., Friday issued the following statement in response to a Wall Street Journal report that two Halliburton employees took $6 million in kickbacks for awarding a Kuwaiti-based company with lucrative work supplying U.S. troops in Iraq:
“For months I and others have called for greater scrutiny into the Iraq reconstruction contracts awarded to Halliburton and other contractors. Yet, Halliburton and the Pentagon have responded with a wall of denials and evasions.
“Now, some of our worst fears about corporate profiteering run amok in Iraq have been confirmed. American taxpayers were bilked for $6 million worth of bribes. Their tax dollars went directly into the pockets of corrupt Halliburton officials. At the very least, this money must be reimbursed. “But this disclosure raises a number of additional questions as well, such as: How many other contracts involve kickbacks? Is corruption rampant throughout the Iraq reconstruction process and what has the Defense Department been doing to investigate corruption in Iraq? “Halliburton and the Defense Department can no longer rebuff inquiries into the way they do business together. Therefore, I renew my request for congressional hearings into Halliburton’s Iraqi contracts in order to restore public confidence in the procurement process.”