Looking backward

This piece, which ran in Slate last November, argues that there is no evidence that the Bush administration favors its cronies in rewarding reconstruction contracts.

It bothered me at the time — focusing solely on a direct correlation between campaign contributions and contracts rewarded, the author ignores other obvious factors which contribute to cronyism, such as longstanding personal relationships and the possibility of personal gain.

At any rate, I thought of it when this came out earlier in the week:

A newly unearthed Pentagon e-mail about Halliburton contracts in Iraq prompted fresh calls on Capitol Hill on Tuesday for probes into whether Vice President Dick Cheney helped his old firm get the deals.

The e-mail, reported by Time magazine, provided “clear evidence” of a relationship between Cheney and multibillion-dollar contracts Halliburton has received for rebuilding Iraq, Sen. Patrick Leahy said.

“It totally contradicts the vice president’s previous assertions of having no contact” with federal officials about Halliburton’s Iraq deals, Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said in a conference call set up by John Kerry’s presidential campaign. “It would be irresponsible not to hold hearings.”

The March 2003 Pentagon e-mail says action on a no-bid Halliburton contract to rebuild Iraq’s oil industry was “coordinated” with Cheney’s office. Cheney was chief executive officer of the oilfield services giant from 1995 until he joined George W. Bush’s presidential ticket in 2000.

So, golly, as it turns out, Halliburton might be getting favored treatment after all. Who woulda figured?