Repost from the Capitol Blue
Vice President Dick Cheney faces criminal indictments for illegal activities while CEO of energy giant Halliburton and also illegally intervened to secure a $7 billion no-bid contract for his former employer after his election to office, an analysis by the White House counsel's office concludes.
The Vice President is currently under investigation by French authorities for bribery, money laundering and misuse of corporate assets while at Halliburton and also faces a U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission probe of a $180 million "slush fund" that may have been used to pay bribes.
Although the White House Counsel analysis is not available to the public because of the secrecy of "attorney-client privilege," it has generated speculation among senior White House aides who suggest the Vice President should step down as President George W. Bush's running mate for the November Presidential elections. Such talk has increased in GOP circles lately with former New York Senator Alfonse D'Amato Wednesday calling on Bush to dump Cheney.
Those who have read the analysis say it presents a "devastating" case against the Vice President and concludes Cheney has violated both the "spirit and intent" of federal laws on conflict of interest.
Even worse, Cheney faces indictment by a French court on charges of bribery, money laundering and misuse of corporate assets because of fraud associated with the construction of a $6 billion petrochemical plant built by Halliburton in Nigeria in partnership with Technip, one of France's largest petrochemical engineering companies.
Cheney is under investigation by Judge Renaud van Ruymbeke, one of France's famous investigating magistrates. Ruymbeke is a legend in legal circles because of his investigation into French campaign scandals in the 1990s, resulting in multiple indictments and convictions of top officials.
Because of Ruymbeke's work on the case, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into a $180 million "slush fund" that the French judge says was used to pay bribes.
London Lawyer Jeffrey Tesler, a consultant to Halliburton, admitted under oath in May that he made payments from the fund to Albert "Jack" Stanley, president of Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root and a longtime friend and associate of Cheney. The payments, Tesler said, were personally approved by Cheney, who headed Halliburton at the time.
Although Cheney left his position at Halliburton before becoming Vice President, his financial disclosure statements show he continues to receive dividends from stock as well as deferred compensation from the company.
At least $5 million in payments to Stanley from the fund were wired to a secret numbered bank account in Zurich which Judge Ruymbeke discovered belonged to the KBR President. Tesler also testified he paid another $350,000 to another KBR executive, William Chaudran, through another secret bank account on the isle of Jersey.
Cheney served as CEO of Halliburton from 1995 until 2000 and approved the Nigerian contract in 1999. Halliburton publicly announced on June 18 it was "severing all ties" with Stanley, admitting he had received "improper personal benefits" while serving as President of KBR. Sources within Halliburton say the company's internal investigation clearly implicates Vice President Cheney but acknowledge the investigation will remain sealed in light of the company's $7 billion sweetheart contract with the Pentagon for work in Iraq.
French Judge Ruymbeke, however, is said to be offering Stanley a deal if he implicates Cheney and sources within the French legal system say the judge has more than enough to indict the Vice President on charges of bribery, money laundering and misuse of corporate assets.
The assessment of the White House counsel's office agrees that Cheney faces "serious legal implications" from the pending French indictments and add that the Vice President's illegal and unethical lobbying on behalf of Halliburton for the no-bid contract "raises additional questions."
Cheney, however, is standing firm and recently told Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont to "fuck off" when the Senator questioned him on the Halliburton matters.
According to White House sources, President George W. Bush laughed the matter off at a recent cabinet meeting.
"Fuck 'em all," Bush said.
The President's bravado, however, is not shared by worried White House aides. Some point to the last vice president to step down because of fraud and corruption - Spiro T. Agnew, who served under President Richard M. Nixon, another Republican forced to leave office because of scandal