Vol. 2, Issue 8, February 24, 2004
Halliburton Files for Nonprofit Status
Halliburton, the mammoth defense firm once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, has been plagued with mounting accusations of cost overruns, uncompetitive contracts, and flat out fraudulent billing practices related to its extensive contracts with the military and with the Iraq reconstruction effort.
"Now, really, all these things have reasonable explanations," said Cheney,"but many people are simply approaching the facts with a predetermined mindset. The company is really doing our nation quite a favor, and its motives are good."
In order to quell suspicion that Halliburton is gouging the nation for profit with illicit open-ended contracts and substandard services, the corporation has decided it needs to re-establish its fundamental credibility with the American public.
"People have the mistaken impression that we are in this for the money," said Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar. "I can think of no better way to counter this prejudice than for us to declare nonprofit status."
Generally speaking, a nonprofit company is a tax-exempt organization that serves the public interest. In general, the purpose of this type of organization must be charitable, educational, scientific, religious or literary.
"The wonderful thing about Halliburton is that it addresses so many of these goals at once," enthused Cheney. "Most nonprofits like the Red Cross are really very narrow and limited, focusing on medical care, for example. Halliburton's widely diversified portfolio of companies is helping the world in many different ways."
Halliburton asserts that its Iraqi school construction program fulfills an educational mandate; its chemical subsidiaries offer needed scientific services; its custom-designed line of ATMs, currently being installed throughout the greater Baghdad area, qualify as charitable"because there is no fee for withdrawal;" and its wide line of bestselling paperbacks are a significant boon to the literary world.
"We even cater to society's religious needs: one of our subsidiaries has already begun construction on over 150 churches in Iraq," said Lesar. "I can't tell you how long it's been since anyone has even attempted that."
As a nonprofit 501(3)-c corporation, Halliburton would be exempted from federal corporate income tax. It would be required to use all revenue after normal operating expenses in service to the public interest, but Cheney alleges that this is already the case.
"Sure, if you count the salary and perks of the CEO as 'the public interest,'" said a troublemaker from the New York Times before he was removed from the press conference by security.
Cheney has indicated he is personally putting Halliburton Co.'s application on the fast track for its transition to nonprofit status, although he stressed that this was strictly on the merits of the application and was completely unrelated to his own former ties with the company. He also expressed the hope that the change would help Halliburton's image with the public.
"Let's give credit where it's due," said Cheney."It's time America realized just what Halliburton has done."