Morning Report 10/12/05
Over A Barrel

Cheney's stock options are outta sight. So are he, a key staffer, and Rove.

Harkavy

Dick Cheney's Halliburton stock options have flown to an absurd level. In the meantime, he, Karl Rove, and other Plamegate figures are also flying — either under the radar or simply out of the country.

All this travel is of course the result of various crises. Take the stock options: The Raw Story reports that New Jersey senator Frank Lautenberg has done the math on those and has determined that, just in the past year, the Bush regime's CEO's stock options in the oilfield-services firm that also still pays him a salary have risen 3,281 percent in value — from $241,498 to more than $8 million.

Halliburton continues to rake in billions from its shoddy work in Iraq and now from new contracts in our own gulf.

And Raw Story, via Lautenberg, points out:

    Cheney continues to received a deferred salary from the company. According to financial disclosure forms, he was paid $205,298 in 2001; $162,392 in 2002; $178,437 in 2003; and $194,852 in 2004.

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As to the finagling of stock options and deferred salary, there's no reason to question the analysis of a pol from Tony Soprano's home state.

Lautenberg noted that Cheney holds options on 433,333 shares of Halliburton stock. The head Dick has already vowed to donate the after-tax profits to charity.

So what? The vice president has notoriously lied about his financial ties to Halliburton. On September 14, 2003, he told Meet the Press's Tim Russert:

    Since I left Halliburton to become George Bush’s vice president, I've severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interests. I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven’t had now for over three years.

Liar.

The Congressional Research Service, hardly a biased outfit, shined a light into Cheney's barrel of funds. After that fib, Lautenberg asked for an opinion on the matter, and the CRS replied on September 22, 2003:

    Unexercised stock options in a private corporation, as well as deferred salary currently received, are … among those benefits described by the Office of Government Ethics as "retained ties" or "linkages" to one's former employer …

Two years later, good luck finding anything out from Cheney. His chief spokesman, Steve Schmidt, has left on a jet plane, and I don't know when he'll be back again. Actually, I do, thanks again to Raw Story: Schmidt left October 3 for Iraq and won't return until October 26, just two days before special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's time expires for the investigation of Plamegate.

Schmidt wasn't on Cheney's staff back in the summer of 2003, when the plot was hatched to smear Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, in an attempt to cover up the previous plot that had been hatched to invade Iraq.

Cheney himself is lying low, having failed to show at last week's 50th anniversary party for the National Review. And Rove hasn't been seen around much in recent days.

Their lawyers have probably seen them, though.

 


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