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Hurl alert: Halliburton gets $72 million bonus for work in Iraq

How does this happen? Never mind. All of us can think of better ways to spend $72 million lifted from our wallets.

The U.S. Army said on Tuesday it had awarded $72 million in bonuses to Halliburton Co. for logistics work in Iraq but had not decided whether to give the Texas company bonuses for disputed dining services to troops.

Army Field Support Command in Rock Island, Illinois, said in a statement it had given Halliburton unit Kellogg Brown & Root ratings from “excellent” to “very good” for six task orders for work supporting U.S. troops in Iraq.

The Army said its Award Fee Board in Iraq had met in March and had agreed to pay KBR bonuses for work it did in support of U.S. forces there. But it said dining facility costs questioned by auditors from the Defense Contract Audit Agency had not yet been considered by the military’s Award Fee Board.

…Halliburton, which was run by Vice President Dick Cheney until he joined the 2000 race for the White House, has earned more than $7 billion under its 2001 logistics contract with the U.S. military.

Don’t forget these little facts

* A criminal investigation into whether kickbacks were involved in Halliburton’s use of a Kuwaiti subcontractor to provide gasoline for Iraq’s civilian market. Halliburton says it notified federal authorities after an internal probe found two of its former employees may have been involved in corruption worth $6.3 million.

* A review of that fuel contract by the Defense Contract Audit Agency, which concluded Halliburton overcharged the Army by $61 million.

* An investigation by the former Coalition Provisional Authority’s internal watchdog which found Halliburton could not account for scores of items in Iraq worth millions of dollars.

* A report by Congress’ Government Accountability Office, which found a “pattern of contractor management problems” by the Army on Halliburton’s largest Iraq contract. The nonpartisan GAO said the problems including taking more than a year to finalize the documentation on work orders worth billions of dollars.

* A Pentagon audit, which found that Halliburton charged the Army for meals it never served to troops. Halliburton said the problem was caused by the widely fluctuating levels of troops in and around Iraq. Halliburton has repaid $36 million and set aside more than $140 million for a possible settlement as it negotiates with the Army on that issue.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding