Lautenberg: Special counsel needed for VP

June 14, 2004 at 6:56 PM

WASHINGTON, June 14 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., says he will seek a special counsel to review Dick Cheney's role in Halliburton contracting.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff was informed before a no-bid contract to rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure was awarded to Halliburton.

Cheney, who headed Halliburton before becoming vice president of the United States, still has Halliburton stock options that can be exercised until as late as 2009.

"Here we have the latest evidence that there is a trifling with the Vice President's pledge to be free of any involvement with the Halliburton contract," Lautenberg told a teleconference Monday. "This, in my view, could be a major government scandal."

A report issued Monday by the General Accounting Office, Congress's investigative arm, said the contract was properly awarded.

Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall rejected reports of Cheney's involvement in Halliburton's Iraq contracts, writing in an e-mail to United Press International, "The Vice President has absolutely nothing to do with the awarding of defense contracts, the bidding process or current work orders."

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