Monday, October 25, 2004

Halliburton exposed by Army official

This appeared in the New York Times today:

"The top civilian contracting official for the Army Corps of Engineers, charging that the Army granted the Halliburton Company large contracts for work in Iraq and the Balkans without following rules designed to ensure competition and fair prices to the government, has called for a high-level investigation of what she described as threats to the 'integrity of the federal contracting program.'

"The official, Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, said that in at least one case she witnessed, Army officials inappropriately allowed representatives of Halliburton to sit in as they discussed the terms of a contract the company was set to receive."

With all the news on the missing 380 tons of explosives it won't get much play. But the evidence is clear: Cheney's Halliburton had the inside track all along.



Friday, October 22, 2004

Timken back in the news

Bush is going to Timken Company in Canton, Ohio today, according to this report in the Plain-Dealer. There can be no doubt now that he's absolutely tone-deaf to workers concerns.

Here's what one response was from critics in the news:

"But critics say Timken and Bush broke one end of the bargain: The company got tax cuts, anti-dumping help and military contracts. It began building another plant in China its fourth as part of its growing presence in 27 countries.

"But the workers in Canton, where little of the military work is performed, were left to fight for their jobs. The company, though profitable, says employee costs at those plants are too high.

"'Timken is benefiting from tax breaks and from contracts at the same time they're moving jobs away from America,' said Kathy Roeder, a spokeswoman for John Kerry's presidential campaign. 'That concept is out of whack.'"

Campaign Money Watch's Special Interest Spotlight (now on hiatus) covered this earlier this year, not just once, but twice. W.R. Timken, the company's CEO, is a major Bush and Republican Party fundraisier/contributor.




Another Halliburton Rip-Off

From Reuters coverage of Wall Street Journal report, appearing in the Houston Chronicle (got that?):

"The U.S. Army is laying the groundwork to let Halliburton Co., keep several billion dollars paid for work in Iraq that Pentagon auditors say is questionable or unsupported by proper documentation, the Wall Street Journal reported today. ...

"The newspaper, citing the documents and internal memorandums, said that officials are considering using the estimate to serve as the basis for "an equitable settlement," under which the Pentagon could drop many of the claims its auditors have made against the company.

"But the Journal added that some disgruntled Pentagon officials see the effort to broker an outside settlement with the company as unusual because the contract is so large.

"According to the report, Kellogg Brown & Root so far has billed about $12 billion in Iraq, and about $3 billion of that remains disputed by government officials.

"The Journal also cited Pentagon records showing that $650 million in Halliburton billings are deemed questionable. An additional $2 billion is considered to have insufficient paperwork to justify the billing, the report said."

When will the fleecing end? When Cheney is back in the private sector?

Monday, October 18, 2004

"Values" TV ad on DeLay

Go watch it.

Get it on the air.


Sunday, October 17, 2004

Daily DeLay

Another corrupt, pro-special interest politician, another blog.

Also visit THE DAILY DELAY.

Insurance company: If we don't pick the candidates, you'll get bad ones

The Star-Tribune printed a research piece they've been working on for a while about the wheelings and dealings of UnitedHealth Group (the nation's largest insurer), its CEO (William McGuire) and its political donations.

They spoke to me a month or so ago, and I gave them this piece of the story on Health Savings Accounts, which UHG offers now that they bought up Golden Rule Insurance Company just a week and a few days before HSAs were expanded in the Medicare bill:

UnitedHealth has not only started selling such accounts, it has also chartered a bank called Exante Financial Services that can manage the 401(k)-like accounts from which individuals make withdrawals for health care expenditures.

"It's a tremendous windfall," said David Donnelly, the Boston-based director of an organization called Campaign Money Watch. "They put $500 million on the table and bought it up. The legislation was a policy that made that company worth much more."

Donnelly wrote a report this year for Campaign Money Watch that called the Golden Rule purchase "a lucrative acquisition" and questioned its timing.

UnitedHealth contributed $69,000 to 12 of the 17 members of the House-Senate conference committee that hammered out the final details of the Medicare law during a contentious two months last fall.

The company's response would be hilarious if it didn't expose how unsuited our campaign finance system is for a modern democracy:

"This is a democracy, and this is how it works," said Lois Quam, CEO of the Ovations division of UnitedHealth. "It's [William McGuire's] point of view that if good people don't go into public life, then bad people do."
So, Ms. Quam... I'm trying to figure out the logic of this whopper... If wealthy people don't select the people who can run and win elective office, we'll be left with "bad" people? So, we should feel grateful that the William McGuire's of the world own our politicians?


Thursday, October 14, 2004

Nail "The Hammer"

Tom DeLay is vulnerable in his district, and we decided to take him on. Working with other national groups, we will hold DeLay accountable for his egregious ethics violations.

Contribute to this campaign today: https://secure.ga3.org/03/DeLay.

We also need a name for the campaign. How about these?

Enough DeLay Already
Nail "The Hammer"
Dump DeLay
Act Without DeLay

Suggest your own. Second other nominations. Add your comments.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Misuse of taxpayer funds

We're for public financing of campaigns with spending limits, but we're not for public financing of independent expenditure campaigns.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Is that a Corporation in Your Pocket?

Sinclair Broadcasting, which caused a stir earlier this year by refursing to broadcast Ted Koppel's Nightline honoring those who died in Iraq, is at it again. Sinclair, whose executives overwhelmingly favor Republicans in their campaign donations, will run an anti-Kerry movie on its 62 TV stations, many of them in key battleground states, according to the LA Times yesterday.

Senator John McCain chastised the company back in April when they refused to run Nightline, writing in a letter to Sinclair CEO David Smith, "Your decision to deny your viewers an opportunity to be reminded of war's terrible costs, in all their heartbreaking detail, is a gross disservice to the public, and to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. It is, in short, sir, unpatriotic. I hope it meets with the public opprobrium it most certainly deserves."

Media Matters has an advocacy campaign to take action.



Friday, October 08, 2004

Post-Debate Spin

Karen Hughes just identified Wisconsin as a state the Bush campaign will fight to pick up.

Not if we can fight back. Here are our two ads:

Halliburton

Medicare

Bush's decisions

Bush can't admit specific mistakes.

Limits mistakes to unnamed appointments.

Bush Owned by Timber Companies

Bush seemed stumped by that one. What did Kerry mean? If he said it in a forest, would anyone have heard?

Anyway, Bush didn't know how to handle it: He's got no wit -- "Need some wood?" -- at least not one in this type of forum...

Weird.

Maybe Kerry ought to say Bush is owned by timber companies. Bush got $562,547 in 2004 and $298,500 in 2000 from timber interests. That's why Bush's Healthy Forest Initiative is masquerading as a front for clearcutting.

No Tree Left Standing.

UPDATE: So there's truth to it. Here's the FactCheck.org blurb from kos.

Recurring theme from VP debate

Not showing up to vote.

Works well in House and Senate races, but here? Not sure.

Some more stuff on jobs, LOCALIZE!!!

This study.

And this post.

Kerry's answer on the enviroment

Theme is that Bush takes us wrong direction, takes us backwards, refuses science. Not dirty air leads to kids having asthma, while energy companies give millions and Bush does their biddign.Do we really care about "Kyoto" or do we care about our kids? Our seniors?

Bush a good steward of the enviroment?

Amazing he says this stuff with (almost) a straight face. Why doesn't Kerry knock this one?

Kerry's Answer on Prescription Drugs

Missed the punchline. Kerry's gotta provide the evidence. Not just say Bush sides with the powerful. Give the facts: Drug money to Bush. Bush gives billions to drug makers. That's simple.

Prescription Drug Question: Our President on Drug (Money)

Reimportation of prescription drugs was blocked because he got millions in campaign cash from pharmaceutical corporate interests. Period. The discount cards mean that the seniors get the cards and the drug companies get the profits.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Announcing ads in WI

Here's our press release:
CAMPAIGN MONEY WATCH LAUNCHES NEW AD IN WISCONSIN CRITICIZING BUSH/CHENEY ON HALLIBURTON’S CONTRACTS
Ad running in three critical Wisconsin media markets
Provides answers Cheney refused to discuss in televised debate

On the heels of last night’s Vice Presidential debate, Campaign Money Watch began airing a television ad sharply criticizing the connections between Vice President Dick Cheney, his former corporation, Halliburton, and the Bush Administration’s decision to give the oil and military services giant a no-bid, multi-billion dollar contract in Iraq. The ad is airing in three media markets across Wisconsin.
“George Bush and Dick Cheney have their heads in the sand if they think they can divert America’s attention away from the serious facts regarding Cheney’s $20 million bonus from Halliburton, the on-going compensation worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the no-bid, multi-billion dollar contract the Bush White House handed to Halliburton for services in Iraq,” said David Donnelly, director of Campaign Money Watch.
Voters have a right to know why a corporation that can’t account for $1.8 billion in taxpayer funds was the right corporation for the government to give a contract without any competitive process,” continued Donnelly. “That’s a scandal that cannot be hidden from the voters. To have the Vice President of the United States, who was the CEO of Halliburton for five years, refuse to address it forthrightly in last night’s debate added insult to injury.”
The Halliburton TV ad, which can be seen at http://www.campaignmoney.org, is the second wave of advertising Campaign Money Watch has done in Wisconsin. The reform group aired a hard-hitting spot attacking the special interest giveaways in Bush’s Medicare plan.
The new ad is airing in the Green Bay/Appleton, La Crosse/Eau Claire, and Wausau/Rhinelander media markets. The Medicare TV ad also continues to run in the Wausau/Rhinelander market. Campaign Money Watch has spent $475,000 in Wisconsin to air these ads so far.
Campaign Money Watch holds politicians accountable to the public for the special favors they do for their big money backers.
###

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Wrap Up

Maybe a draw, maybe Cheney did slightly better than Edwards. Does it matter? It does to activists who are going out to knock on doors, hand out literature, make phone calls, etc.

Edwards could have really made the charges stick on jobs, health care, Medicare, tax policy, etc. by backing them up with specific details about Bush/Cheney's funding. That's when you put Bush and Cheney into the box of being typical politicians. And the money gives the reason why Bush and Cheney pursue policies.

Bottom line: Edwards could have done better and could have really pinned much more to Bush/Cheney, by using Halliburton and other special interest deals more effectively.

Time to tell the Halliburton story

Cheney refused to engage on Halliburton. We're gonna tell the story with this ad in Wisconsin. Starting tomorrow. In three media markets. Go watch the ad and make a donation to keep it on the air.

Here's the reply for Medicare

Watch.

Frustrated

Edwards walks up to the water's edge but doesn't dive in, saying that the Bush-Cheney Administration has catered to drug companies and insurance companies, but not quite saying why.

Trial lawyer response

Got off on good foot -- put himself on side of kids and families against HMOs, insurance companies, and drug corporations.

Finishes well with story-telling.

Bush/Cheney plan on taxes

Reward. The. Well. Off. Who. Give. Us. Money. Period.

And sign a tax cut package described this way by the Washington Post:

"While Bush talked mostly about benefits for individual taxpayers, the biggest chunk of the package, about $13 billion, will go to businesses to help fund research and development."

Job loss in Ohio

Here's what we've done on job loss and outsourcing earlier this year in OH:

Timken

Invacare

Smoke screen?!?

Cheney refuses to engage.

Halliburton and Iran

First direct question. Not tough. Not about him or how he benefits. Let's see if Edwards can bring it back to the real point on Cheney's millions.

Sparks

If someone throws a hard-hitting charge about Halliburton into this spark-filled debate we could see some real flames.

Keep it simple, stupid

I think Edwards is making the case too complicated.

First mention...

$7.5 billion of $87 billion for no-bid contract for Iraq... interesting. . is the strategy for explaining the $87 billion vote to point at the money going to Halliburton?

Halliburton Accounting

Sitting at a conference in San Francisco watching the VP debate...Journalist Dan Gillmor just quipped that Dick Cheney's explanation of the billions supposedly flowing into Iraq from other countries, "That sounds like Halliburton accounting."

Twenty minutes in and still no mention, however.

10 minute mark

And there's still no mention of Halliburton.

Participate

Share your thoughts and reactions about the debate in the comment area below -- remember to hit refresh every few minutes or so to catch the latest.


H-A-L-L-I-B-U-R-T-O-N

They came out and are writing notes. Edwards is writing Halliburton Halliburton Halliburton Halliburton.

Suggest a question

Will Gwen Ifill, moderator for tonight's VP debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards, ask Cheney about Halliburton?

What will she ask?

What should she ask? Suggest a question by posting below.


Guide to watching the debate from HalliburtonWatch

HalliburtonWatch provided this user-friendly guide to watching tonight's debate between former Halliburton CEO and current Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Senator John Edwards.

Send an email to debate moderator Gwen Ifill to ensure that Cheney gets asked direct questions about Halliburton.

Boston Globe, Part III

Here is Part III of the Boston Globe's series on special interest influence in Washington. The title, "Medicare bill a study in D.C. spoils system," is tame compared to what really went down. The piece, by Christopher Rowland, is an exhaustive review of the lobbying particularly around funding for teaching, community and rural hospitals. But it is a little light on the long and substantial investments in campaign cash from the insurance and pharamceutical industries. Still worth a read.


Monday, October 04, 2004

Boston Globe's series on special interest money

The Boston Globe today has the second part of a three part series on the influence of special interests in Washington. Susan Milligan, the lead Globe reporter on this, did an incredibly thorough job.

[A few months back I provided a little bit of background information for the report.]

Read yesterday's Part I (an overview), and today's Part II (on the energy bill).

I'll post Part III when it comes out tomorrow.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Donors to GOP & Bushes donors get windfall

In Sunday's South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

GOP contributors set to reap benefits from Scripps deal

When Gov. Jeb Bush announced in October 2003 he had lured The Scripps Research Institute to Palm Beach County with more than $300 million in public money, he touted it as an economic boon to Floridians.

But before taxpayers see a return on the investment, among those who could benefit most from the Scripps Florida windfall are those who have donated thousands to the Republican Party and GOP candidates and have ties to the Bushes. ... [read whole article]




Friday, October 01, 2004

Yesterday's Wisconsin radio story about our ads

Here's the blurb and audio link from Wisconsin Public Radio about our advertising.

Pharmaceutical Money Accepted Prior to Medicare Bill Passage
9/30/04
An independent political group (not regulated by campaign finance laws) is criticizing President Bush for money he took from drug companies prior to passage of the Medicare bill. The ads by Campaign Money Watch are running in a part of Wisconsin that is among the most hotly contested areas in the nation. Shamane Mills reports...running time 1:57
Listen to this story now using RealPlayer

Debate Action: Call on Ifill to Ask Cheney About Halliburton

We launched an advocacy campaign today to call on Gwen Ifill of PBS, who is moderating the VP debate between Cheney and Edwards next Tuesday, to ask tough questions of Cheney regarding Halliburton.

Take Action.

Here are the three questions we want Ifill to ask Cheney:

1. What can you say to the American people tonight to reassure them that your past and on-going financial relationship with Halliburton had nothing to do with the special treatment it has received from the Bush Administration?

2. Do you believe your former company, in light of the audit showing that Halliburton can't account for $1.8 billion in taxpayer money, was really the best company to be given a no-bid, multi-billion dollar contract?

3. Regarding the awarding of this no-bid contract, what did you know and when did you know it? Did you or anyone associated with you intervene or lobby on Halliburton's behalf?


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