Halliburton Executive Mistakenly Leaves $1.7 Billion Contract As Tip

Washington, D.C., December 9, 2005 -- A Halliburton executive mistakenly left a $1.7 billion no-bid military procurement contract as a tip in a Washington, D.C. restaurant yesterday, a spokesman for the restaurant, B. Smith's at 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE, said yesterday.

The contract was apparently left by the Halliburton executive, James Weedroot, who said he "felt a little stupid" about the incident, but was "glad it's deductible", as a tip for a $1,400 business lunch. The startled waitress, Ms. Janet Jackson (no relation), said she was "a little surprised, and actually a little peeved. How the heck am I supposed to cash a $1.7 billion military contract?"

Halliburton, originally an oil services company but now a conglomerate that has grown increasingly flexible in handling or subcontracting any procurement treats the Bush administration happens to throw at it, routinely receives multi-billion dollar contracts from various branches of the United States government. The company's remarkable success at absorbing government largess has been bolstered in large part by the close connections between Vice President Cheney and the company of which he was chief executive for several years during a private sector break in his long political career.

Vice President Cheney still receives annual compensation from Halliburton in excess of $200,000 – a mere drop in the bucket for the caustic millionaire – and holds stock options in Halliburton worth over $8 million. Mr. Cheney has repeatedly brushed aside questions as to whether his large holdings in the company constitute a conflict of interest by attacking the questioners' integrity, qualifications, and sexual orientation, and occasionally striking them dead with an electric pencil sharpener.

With the regular support of the Bush-Cheney White House, Halliburton's fortunes and regions of endeavor have multiplied exponentially. Halliburton now regularly receives no-bid contracts – contracts that are handed out by government officials without competitive bidding – in fields as diverse as oil services, bungalow construction, ping-ping ball manufacture, psychic and astrological profiling, and dog obedience training. Halliburton has been put in charge of procuring the White House's Halloween candy for next season's traditional "Federal Trick or Treat" at a cost to taxpayers of $89 million.

"We've received a $120 million contract from an obscure branch of the Defense Department," said Crusty McFerklin, a Halliburton spokesman, "to keep President Bush's dog, Barney, from pooping in the Oval Office. We're nearly there -- another six months or so."

Oval Office poop removal is handled by another Halliburton Subsidiary, Isle of Man-based Canine Refuse Dispatch LLP, at an annual cost of $22.4 million.

Mr. Weedroot, who tipped Ms. Jackson with the $1.7 billion contract at B. Smith's, said he "thought I was leaving a couple of hundreds. I guess the contract was just rolled up with the other bills in my money clip. I don't even remember what it was for, now."

Ms. Jackson, who in addition to her experience as a waitress has worked for several years in a local D.C. barbershop, said she has no intention of returning the contract.

"I talked to a couple of my girlfriends, and we're going to go ahead and do the government's business," she said. "It doesn't look that hard. The contract's for moving a bunch of the palm trees along the beach in Guantanamo Bay about one meter inland, I guess to make the officers' beach a little wider. Hell, we can do that. We'll even have it done a little early."

Seymour Jollyboy, owner of B. Smith's, said he "regrets that Ms. Jackson, a very capable and cheerful waitress, will be leaving us, but I wish her all success in her latest venture."

In her absence, Mr. Jollyboy said, he will be turning over general management of tables 9-17 for the weekday lunch and dinner shifts to another offshore Halliburton subsidiary, Halliburton Restaurant Services, Ltd., of Grand Cayman.

"They're already sitting on a $900 million food services contract for the Defense Department," said Mr. Jollyboy, "so they're going to help me out in return for some steaks. Bunch of real nice fellas."

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor

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