I should have expected this, but I had honestly thought the Halliburton no-bid contracts canard had been thoroughly debunked enough to keep it from arising as a “Republicans do it too” defense when reporting on Democratic malfeasance. Politics Daily proved me wrong. In a report written by Dylan and Ethan Ris on the awarding of no-bid contracts to John Murtha’s nephew, the pair accuse Dick Cheney of getting Halliburton (actually KBR) nothing but no-bid contracts, taking three paragraphs to repeat the canard before getting to the actual topic of their post:
When a new Democratic administration came into power with ample support in Congress, most hallmarks of the previous Dick Cheney-led government were cast aside. Torture, Guantanamo Bay prison, espousing personal religious beliefs in international doctrines… all gone.
But one major Cheney nugget has remained. The grand tradition of the no-bid contract.
But since the Democrats are running the show now, the no-bid contracts aren’t necessarily steered toward the usual suspects like Halliburton and their offshoot, KBR.
Instead they’re going to relatives of Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA).
This is just lazy. It takes no time at all to look up KBR’s contracts to see what kind of competition they had for their work at FedSpending.org, the brilliant work of OMB Watch. Instead of being a no-bid paradise at KBR, the records show that KBR had full competition for over 87% of their work between 2000 and 2008, which totaled $31 billion. Forty percent of the non-compete work came in one year alone, 2004, when KBR got Army contracts related to the war in Iraq, and still 83% of their work came from full competition in that year. Also, in the final year of the Clinton administration — in which Cheney obviously had no role — KBR got 11% of its revenue through no-bid contracts, at about the same level as the overall pace during the Bush years.
In comparison, Murtech got 100% of its contracts from no-bid situations. And overall, the DoD favors no-bid contracts over competitive bids. During the 2000-2008 period, almost 58% of all Pentagon contracts came from no-bid type contracts. Only 34.5% of all its contracts during that time were awarded through competitive bidding. That makes the KBR record look very clean indeed — and completely undermines the notion that Cheney pipelined money to KBR in an unethical manner. The KBR awards appear to be much more ethical than the norm at the DoD, and a lot more ethical than Murtech’s.