RENO, Nev. – A Republican congressman Saturday joined Democratic calls for hearings on allegations that Halliburton (search) Co. charged up to $61 million too much for delivering gasoline to Iraqi citizens under a no-bid contract.
Rep. Jim Gibbons (search), R-Nev., called the allegations "an absolute outrage" and said he wants the House Armed Services Committee to hold hearings early next year on Halliburton, Vice President Dick Cheney's (search) former company.
"If these allegations which were found in a Pentagon audit of government contracts is true, then it's time for Halliburton to break out its checkbook and refund American taxpayers," Gibbons said.
Gibbons, a committee member, said he's the first Republican member of Congress to call for congressional hearings of the company.
Halliburton has received more than $2.2 billion so far under an oil reconstruction contract. The country is providing gasoline and other fuel to Iraqis while the country's oil industry is being rebuilt.
A Pentagon audit found Halliburton may have overcharged the government by $1.09 a gallon. The company denies overcharging.
Gibbons said he's also concerned by news reports that Halliburton may have overcharged $67 million to supply cafeteria services to U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The company has been paid about $3 billion for supporting the military with cafeterias, mail delivery and other services.
Cheney headed Houston-based Halliburton from 1995 until he became President Bush's running mate in 2000. Other executives from the company gave generously to the Bush campaign.
"I don't think Dick Cheney had anything to do with these contracts. He's far too smart to do it," Gibbons said. "I don't think you'll find that the contracts were issued in exchange for contributions in this case. I just think it's greedy overreaching by Halliburton."