The AP reports that Kellogg, Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary that came under fire for its reconstruction work in Iraq, “has begun tapping a $500 million Navy contract to do emergency repairs at Gulf Coast naval and Marine facilities that were battered by Hurricane Katrina.”
Under fire for mistreatment of whistleblowers and under investigation in Nigeria, France, and the U.S. for allegedly paying kickbacks and performing a variety of other corporate misdeeds, Halliburton’s past performance raises serious concerns about whether they’re the right company to help pull the Gulf Coast out of what may end up being the greatest natural disaster in U.S. history.
The appropriation of hurricane recovery funds also highlights Halliburton’s special interest connections to the White House. On February 1, 2005, The Allbaugh Company, under the name of M. Diane Allbaugh, registered to lobby for Kellogg, Brown & Root. The lobbying registration form lists Joe M. Allbaugh, former 2000 Bush campaign manager and former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as KBR’s official lobbyist.
The purpose of the lobbying agreement between Allbaugh and Halliburton was ostensibly to “Educate the congressional and executive branch on defense, disaster relief and homeland security issues affecting Kellogg Brown and Root.” Just last week, the Wall Street Journal reported, “Senate Appropriations staffers warn business lobbyists are maneuvering to tack on special-interest amendments” to the hurricane supplemental spending bill.
Was Allbaugh one of those maneuvering behind the scenes to get Halliburton a piece of the $10.5 billion pie that Congress recently passed for hurricane disaster relief?
If so, it wouldn’t be the first time Allbaugh used his links to Bush to profit off a disaster recovery. On Sept. 29, 2003, the New York Times reported that Allbaugh had set up a consulting firm, New Bridge Strategies, to advise companies that want to do business in Iraq, including those seeking pieces of taxpayer-financed reconstruction projects.