Halliburton: Influence / Lobbying

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Lobby groups



Halliburton is a member of the following lobby groups:

This is the largest services oriented lobby group in the United States[1]. In a recent Senate hearing, Norman Sorensen, Chairman of the CSI's Financial Services Group reminded everyone that 'removing barriers to services trade is a very important U.S. policy objective. The service sector's contribution to U.S. exports makes it imperative that the United States continue to open services markets abroad through agreements such as the US-Chile and US-Singapore Free Trade Agreements, which we believe should be implemented as soon as possible'[2]. Included in its 44 illustrious members are AOL Time Warner, Microsoft and General Electric. Past members have included Enron ( the company that hid debt from its books in order to artificially inflate its value to shareholders and was also heavily involved in the illegal trading which led to the California energy crisis in 2000), Anderson (the accountants who helped them) and WorldCom (which inflated its profits by $4bn through false accounting). With prime access to elite government and corporate circles, its various corporate members gain handsomely from international trade agreements, from IMF or World Bank handouts, and from privatisation programs. The USCSI acts as the access point to trade policy for US services corporations[3].

The industry's largest association which represents over 400 national and international companies[4] [5]

With its expressed purpose of getting business 'a seat on the table', the USCIB brings US corporate interests directly to 'officials in the United Nations, European Union and a host of other governments and groups'[6]. It was one of the most influential industry lobby groups that lobbied for the infamous Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) and is one of the key business coalitions pushing along business-friendly WTO and FTAA negotiations[7].

In 2008, Halliburton was listed as a member of the American Benefits Council[8]. This group aims to shape the world of corporate benefits policy with the mission 'to be the most effective advocate for voluntary private employee benefits'. In doing so they initiate and champion 'legislation and regulations favorable to our members' needs and interests, and influences policy development within Congress and the White House and executive branch agencies'. They also 'fend off policy proposals that add burdens, liabilities and costs for the employer plan sponsor community'</ref> and an 'advocate of employer-sponsored benefit programs'[9].

Links with government

It is Halliburton's unashamed ties to the US Administration and key think-tanks such as Project for a New American Century that has guaranteed it a smooth flow of large contracts. Current US vice president, Dick Cheney, was Hallibuton's Chief Executive until 2000. He joined the company in 1995 after it was awarded the job of studying and then implementing the privatisation of routine army functions under the then secretary of defence... Dick Cheney. Unsurprisingly, Cheney is still being paid by Halliburton. When he left in 2000, he opted not to have his leaving payment in a lump sum, but instead to have it paid to him over five years, possibly for tax reasons. The obligatory disclosure statement filled by all top government officials says only that these yearly payments are in a range between $100,000 and $1 million. Nor is it clear how they are calculated[10].

Several of the current directors of Halliburton have previously worked for the US government. For example, in October 2001, Ray L. Hunt was appointed by President George Bush to the President's Foreign Intelligence Board, whilst Lawrence S. Eagleburger has held a variety of positions (see Board of Directors)[11] [12].

Halliburton has also attempted to influence government decisions through cash donations. According to the Washington-based Centre for Responsive Politics, Halliburton gave 95 percent of its federal campaign contributions during the past two election cycles to the Republicans. Halliburton has also strongly supported the election funds of relevant chairmen of Senate and Congressional committees, including Ted Stevens, Republican chair of the appropriations committee[13].

So far, government aid that has led to Halliburton contracts includes $2.71 billion from the US export-import bank, $1.11 billion from the World Bank, $611 million from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and $1.56 billion from other government sources[14].

Halliburton's CEO David J. Lesar is currently a member of the NPC, whilst director Ray L. Hunt has served as chairman. Although the NPC is not allowed to lobby or act as a trade group, it operates in an advisory role to the US Energy Department. The council's 1999 natural gas report concluded that regulation was becoming a barrier to meeting rising demand. Partially overseen by then chief executive of Halliburton, Dick Cheney, the report became a frequently cited source book for policy debate in the days leading up to House passage of new energy legislation which opened up some of the US's last unspoiled mountains, canyons and badlands[15].

The strands of Dick Cheney’s business and policy interests come together in his support of a corporate coalition called USA*Engage[16]. The mission of this coalition, with some 50 active companies and 600-plus total members, is to promote business 'engagement' and prevent US sanctions in response to human rights or other kinds of violations. Dick Cheney’s position on sanctions has been virtually identical to that of USA*Engage, and Halliburton has been an active member of USA*Engage and its campaigns against almost all forms of sanctions. For example, Cheney signed an amicus brief against the Massachusetts Burma law. Modeled on successful anti-apartheid legislation of the 1980s, the law would have prevented Massachusetts from doing business with companies doing business in Burma. The Massachusetts law was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2002. Similarly, Cheney has opposed sanctions against almost all the countries that Halliburton does business in, including Iran, Libya and Azerbaijan. The one exception is Iraq, at least that is what he would have us believe (see Corporate Crimes). Now that Dick Cheney is back in government, his position on sanctions is likely to become more influential. Secretary of State Colin Powell has already echoed the sentiment of Cheney and USA*Engage, saying he wanted to reduce the use of sanctions as a foreign policy tool. This would leave Cheney’s ex-colleagues back at Halliburton freer than ever to pursue profits where environmental and human rights norms are disregarded. Among the sanctions USA*Engage seeks to eliminate are those against the pariah regime of Burma, even though the leader of the democratically elected party, Aung San Suu Kyi, has expressed her support for the sanctions. If USA*Engage is successful, Halliburton may resume dealings with the Burmese military dictatorship, a destructive engagement that could extend Burma’s nightmare. Dick Cheney’s pro-engagement, anti-sanctions policies have remained consistent whether he is in government or business. These policies might be summarised as, 'what’s good for Halliburton is good for the world, and vice versa.'

Think tanks

Several of Halliburton's directors have sat on the boards of influential think tanks. These include:

Halliburton directors, C.J. Silas and L.S. Eagleburger, have both been members of the Trilateral Commission[17]. According to Senator Barry Goldwater, the Trilateral Commission 'is international and is intended to be the vehicle for multinational consolidation of the commercial and banking interests by seizing control of the political government of the US'[18].

Halliburton director Lawrence S. Eagleburger has twice been a member of the CFR (1988, 2001)[19]. According to its literature, the CFR 'is dedicated to increasing America’s understanding of the world and contributing ideas to U.S. foreign policy. The Council accomplishes this mainly by promoting constructive debates and discussions, clarifying world issues, and publishing Foreign Affairs'[20].

Halliburton director Ray L. Hunt is on the board of trustees of CSIS, a private organisation head-quartered in Washington DC. According to its web site, it has 'been dedicated to providing world leaders with strategic insights on — and policy solutions to — current and emerging global issues.' CSIS is dominated by members with strong ties to the US government and private industry[21].

Influencing Education

Halliburton and the US Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) signed an agreement whereby Halliburton will give priority hiring status to soldiers taking part in the Partnership for Youth Success Program (PaYS). The agreement begins at the enlistment process with new recruits signing a letter of intent to work for Halliburton upon completion of their term of service. They are then groomed for a new life in Halliburton as part of their army training. As the end of their term approaches, the lucky soldiers will have the opportunity to interview with Halliburton for a job.[22].


  1. Coalition of Service Industries home page viewed: 25.06.03
  2. CSI Financial Services 'CSI Financial Services Group Chairman Norman Sorensen Praises Singapore and Chile Trade Agreements in Senate Hearing' CSI Press Release, 16.06.03. viewed: 07.07.03
  3. Darren Puscas (2003) 'A look at the U.S. Coalition of Service Industries' Polaris Institute, June 20, 2003. viewed: 17.07.03
  4. American Petroleum Institute 'About API' viewed: 17.07.03
  5. American Petroleum Institute Members Accessed 27th February 2008
  6. Polaris Institute, 'Power play at Cancun & Miami: Corporate Pushers at the WTO & FTAA ministerials' viewed: 22.07.03
  7. USCIB home page viewed: 22.07.03
  8. American Benefits Council Memberships Accessed 26th February 2008
  9. American Benefits Council About the CouncilAccessed 26th February 2008
  10. Robert Bruce & Julian Borger. (2003) 'Cheney is still paid by Pentagon contractor.' The Guardian 12/03/03
  11. Hunt Oil Ray L Hunt – Chairman viewed: 02.07.03
  12. Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition (2003) 'Eagleburger, Lawrence Sidney' viewed: 30.06.03
  13. Oliver Morgan (2003) 'Bush's Republican Guard.' The Observer 16.03.03
  14. Earth Rights International Halliburton's Destructive Engagement viewed: 07.07.03
  15. Geoffrey Mohan (2001) http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/0812-01.htm' Bush oil, gas bid skirts key issues'] from The Los Angeles Times 12.08.01. viewed: 16.07.03
  16. Bruno K & Valette J (2001) 'Cheney & Halliburton: Go where the oil is,' Multinational Monitor, 22(5), May 2001. viewed: 18.07.03
  17. PR Watch (2003) 'Lawrence Sidney Eagleburger' viewed 21.07.03
  18. PR Watch (2003) 'Trilateral Commission' viewed 21.07.03
  19. PR Watch (2003) 'Lawrence Sidney Eagleburger' viewed 21.07.03
  20. PR Watch (2003) 'Council on Foreign Relations' viewed 21.07.03
  21. PR Watch (2003) 'The Center for Strategic and International Studies' viewed 21.07.03
  22. Halliburton Press Release, 21.05.01 'US Army and Halliburton partner to provide job opportunities to qualified soldiers,' viewed: 21.07.03