Washington Post
Harriet Miers In Inherent Contempt
Fri Jul 20, 2007 15:01


Harriet Miers In Inherent Contempt


Broader Privilege Claimed In Firings
White House Says Hill Can't Pursue Contempt Cases

By Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, July 20, 2007; Page A01

Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege.

The position presents serious legal and political obstacles for congressional Democrats, who have begun laying the groundwork for contempt proceedings against current and former White House officials in order to pry loose information about the dismissals



Admittedly, the feasibility of getting impeachment hearings going in the Congress is low, if not nil. Even if the Democrats were able to rally all their own to support such a measure (and they wouldn't), they'd be unable get enough Republicans on their side to initiate the process. However, given the circumstances, the moment seems propitious to at least bring up the notion of impeachment as a valid constitutional tool. Whether or not you agree with its use, it is inarguable that the public is slowly but gradually beginning to give it serious consideration; this despite the fact that it has been almost universally poo-poohed in the media


V. President Cheney To Assume Power

Cheney's list of sins is as long as any Republican's transgressions. As CEO of Dallas-based Halliburton Co. from 1995 until 2000, Cheney did little about cleaning up asbestos in his buildings, leading to multimillion-dollar legal judgments against Halliburton. He presided over several rounds of job cuts, including about 11,000 workers in 1999, a year that Halliburton showed a $438 million profit. Since those layoffs, Halliburton's profits rose to $501 million in 2000 and $809 million in 2001.

Halliburton also raked in big bucks from dubious deals with Iraq under Cheney's tenure, according to the Washington Post and other sources. From 1997 through 2000, Cheney's Halliburton sold $73 million worth of oil equipment and services to Iraq through subsidiaries Dresser-Rand and Ingersoll Dresser Pump Co. to help rebuild Iraq's Gulf War-damaged infrastructure. That was more business than any other U.S. company, and Cheney later lied about his Iraqi connection to media types like Sam Donaldson. Talk about corporate hypocrisy. Companies like Halliburton could make big profits on such oil deals, but human rights groups could not ship life-saving medicine to Iraqi children because of UN sanctions. And now, Cheney the Major League Hypocrite is standing in line to nuke Hussein after he profited - big time - from Iraq. Halliburton also did business with dictatorships that have committed human rights abuses, such as in Burma, Libya and Iran. In fact, Houston-based Kellogg Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, was fined $3.8 million for exporting U.S. goods to Libya in violation of U.S. sanctions. Cheney did nothing to stop such fraud.

Brown & Root also had to pay a hefty fine after being accused of defrauding the U.S. military by submitting false claims for delivery orders between 1994 and 1998. Again, Cheney did nothing to stop such fraud. Halliburton was a corporate welfare hog under Cheney, obtaining at least $3.8 billion in federal contracts and taxpayer-insured loans, according to the Center for Public Integrity. All the while, Cheney blasted welfare mothers.

Then there is Halliburton's Enron-like accounting scheme under Cheney's watch. The dishonest accounting policies, adopted in 1998, were obviously designed to make it appear that Halliburton had more revenues than the firm actually did. Specifically, Halliburton labeled unresolved claims against some clients as revenue, even though the money was still disputed, including $234 million in 2001 and $89 million in 1998. And who was Halliburton's accountant? Andersen, of course- the same firm embroiled with Enron. Cheney was even featured in an Andersen video, saying "I get good advice, if you will, from their people based upon how we're doing business and how we're operating - over and above just the sort of normal by-the-books auditing arrangement." Sounds like a confession to me. Even with such phony accounting, Halliburton's stock nose-dived below $10 in early 2002 after being as high as $49 last year. The stock has since gone up slightly. The SEC is investigating, but do you really expect anything to come of that?


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