Friday, October 31, 2003

The Center for Public Integrity has done some investigating into the Iraq reconstruction effort and has (surprise surprise) found out it "reeks of cronyism".

The report by the watchdog group, the Center for Public Integrity, said most of the 70 firms and individuals getting up to $8 billion in contracts for post-war Iraq and Afghanistan donated more to Bush's presidential campaign -- a little over $500,000 -- than any other candidate in the past decade.

"There is a stench of political favoritism and cronyism surrounding the contracting process in both Iraq and Afghanistan," said Charles Lewis, executive director of the group, which investigates public service and ethics issues.

The report said 60 percent of the firms with contracts had employees or board members who served in previous administrations, for members of Congress and at the highest level of the military.

Winning companies were major political players overall and the group traced about $49 million in donations since 1990 from these companies to political parties, committees and candidates. The Republican Party committee got $12.7 million while Democrats got $7.1 million.

The report found that 14 of the 70 contractors got work both in Iraq and Afghanistan and that combined these companies gave nearly $23 million in political contributions and 13 of those firms employed former government officials with close ties to agencies and departments.

One of the biggest contracts for Iraq went to Halliburton Co., the oil services firm once run by Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites), who strongly denies any cronyism.

Engineering firm Bechtel, which has more than $1 billion in U.S. government business in Iraq, has former Secretary of State George Shultz as a member of its board.
Now, those involved strongly deny that anything shady is going on. Naturally. Still, let's be realistic here. Although this may not actually be what this war was about, that doesn't stop the prospect of opportunism one bit.

Hmm, wonder what the P/L ratios are projected to be for Syria?

No comments:

Post a Comment