WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., Wednesday called for reimbursement to the American taxpayer of overcharges made by Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root in its importation of fuel into Iraq. In a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and John Dingell, D-Mich., revealed that the Corps is considering terminating Halliburton’s oil importation responsibilities because of overcharges. The letter also disclosed that the Department of Defense Energy Support Center is currently importing fuel into Iraq for less than half the price Halliburton is charging.
“I hope this disclosure means the Bush administration has finally learned what many of us in Congress have said from the beginning – that no-bid, sole-source contracts often lead to waste and abuse,” Lieberman said. “And while I hope that the Department of Defense finally does the right thing by ending Halliburton’s responsibility for importing fuel into Iraq, it’s outrageous that it took a Congressional investigation and bad publicity for the Department to reconsider the sky-high prices it’s been paying. “This contract has already wasted millions of taxpayers’ dollars. It’s imperative that the Department of Defense seek reimbursement from Halliburton for the amounts it has overcharged the United States government. At a time of soaring federal deficits, we can ill afford to line the pockets of well-connected corporations at the expense of the American taxpayer.” Since April, Lieberman has been critical of non-competitive contracts that have been awarded for the reconstruction of Iraq. He requested and helped obtain a U.S. Agency for International Development Inspector General investigation of that agency’s limited-bid contracts. And the Senate approved legislation, which Lieberman co-sponsored, that would have required federal agencies to publicly justify any Iraqi reconstruction contract awarded without an open and competitive bidding process.