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HalliburtonWatch responds to reports that Cheney has no financial interest in Halliburton

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- One of the first times that the topic of Halliburton came up during tonight's vice presidential debate, Dick Cheney said we can find "all the facts about Halliburton at www.FactCheck.com" (he meant to say "FactCheck.org").

But that site, which is run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, doesn't address the issues of doing business with states that sponsor terrorism, bribery, and the other issues that Sen. John Edwards raised.

Moreover, FactCheck.org itself distorts the facts on Cheney's financial interest in Halliburton regarding his deferred salary and stock options, the only Halliburton issues the website does review.

Cheney claims his 433,333 Halliburton stock options do not constitute a "financial interest," because he signed an agreement to give the options to charity at some point in the future.

But look at the agreement, which is posted on the site for the first time.

The Congressional Research Service report cited by FactCheck.org makes it clear that divestiture of the options (which Cheney has not done) is much less subject to manipulation. Who's the "administrative agent" of the gift agreement, and why doesn't Cheney reveal the person's name? Is there a conflict of interest? Who would enforce it?

The Office of Government Ethics has specifically stated that "deferred compensation" and "stock options" constitute a "continuing financial relationship" with the former employer "which makes them potential conflicts of interest."

The Congressional Research Service contravened FactCheck's assertions by concluding: "The fact that a deferred salary or compensation from a private corporation may be 'insured,' and thus 'guaranteed' regardless of the corporation's performance, and the fact that the after-tax profits from the exercise of outstanding stock options that the official currently holds in the corporation have been designated to various charities, does not, in any of the literature, explanations or express rulings of ethics entities take such official's ties, interests and linkages to private corporations out of the realm of required financial disclosures for conflict of interest avoidance and identification purposes."

More on this and the other issues Cheney did not address can be found here: http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/news/guide.htm

Charlie Cray/Jim Donahue