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Leahy On Halliburton Move: ‘This Is An Insult To The U.S. Soldiers And Taxpayers’

By Faiz Shakir on March 12, 2007 at 10:46 am

"Leahy On Halliburton Move: ‘This Is An Insult To The U.S. Soldiers And Taxpayers’"

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Yesterday, Halliburton announced that it would be moving its corporate headquarters from Houston to Dubai. Reincorporating in Dubai would mean that Halliburton — which earned $2.3 billion in profits last year — “will be paying less taxes to the U.S. Treasury, even as it collects billions from government contracts.”

House Government Oversight Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) said he will soon hold a hearing on the matter to “understand the ramifications for the U.S. taxpayer and national security.” One lobbyist said, “If there’s a huge tax shift, then it’s taking money from U.S. taxpayers while they’re taking no-bid contracts.”

Reacting to Halliburton’s announcement, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told ABC News it was “an insult to the U.S. soldiers and taxpayers.” Watch ABC’s segment:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/03/abchalliburton.320.240.flv]

UPDATE: Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY): “I think it is disgraceful that American companies are more than happy to try to get no-bid contracts like Halliburton has and then turn around and say we are not going to stay with our Chief Executive Officer or the President of our company in the U.S. anymore. Well I am proud to be an American and I am proud to be part of the greatest country in the world.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “For one of the largest contractors with the United States government to move its headquarters overseas? [It] just doesn’t look good, doesn’t sound good, doesn’t smell good.”

UPDATE II: Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND): “I want to know, is Halliburton trying to run away from bad publicity on their contracts?”

Transcript:

ABC: A swift and angry reaction from Democrats in Washington to the announcement that Halliburton is moving its corporate headquarters overseas to Dubai. Critics say Halliburton, which has received billions of American taxpayer dollars for its work on the war in Iraq, is now looking for a tax break. ABC’s Sonya Crawford, is on the story.

CRAWFORD: Without much fanfare, Halliburton announced it’s moving its corporate headquarters from Houston to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. CEO David Lesar, said, “Growing our business here will bring more balance to Halliburton’s portfolio.” More balance, and thanks to a friendly tax environment, hopefully more profits. Last year, Halliburton earned $2.3 billion in profits. Senator Patrick Leahy called the company’s move corporate greed at its worst. “This is an insult to the U.S. soldiers and taxpayers. At the same time they’ll be avoiding U.S. taxes, I’m sure they won’t stop insisting on taking their profits in cold, hard, U.S. cash.”

WAXMAN: Our job is to provide oversight to make sure government is working effectively.

CRAWFORD: Democrats have been extremely critical of Halliburton, once headed by Vice President Cheney. The company has received contracts valued at an estimated $25.7 billion for its work in Iraq. Among the company’s low points, serving troops spoiled food. Exposing troops to contaminated water from the Euphrates river. And failing to adequately protect its contractors. And last month, the Inspector General for Iraq found Halliburton overcharged the government, $2.7 billion. Which Halliburton is still contesting.

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