8/31/2005

Daily Kos: Bunnatine Greenhouse makes Waxman's list and hits the MSM

Bunnatine Greenhouse makes Waxman's list and hits the MSM
by hekebolos
Mon Aug 29th, 2005 at 19:06:25 CDT

By now I'm sure we've all read about how Bunnatine Greenhouse was demoted from her position in the Army Corps of Engineers because of her opposition to no-bid reconstruction contracts for Halliburton.

Well, we can rejoice: the story has hit the L.A. Times (what page, I don't know--I just read it online), with Waxman calling for a congressional inquiry into the demotion.

Article snippets commentary below.

* hekebolos's diary :: ::
*

Greenhouse had repeatedly challenged the Army Corps' commanding officers on their decision in 2003 to give a contract worth up to $7 billion to repair oil infrastructure to Halliburton, the Houston-based oil services company once run by Vice President Dick Cheney.

""They went after her to destroy her," said Michael Kohn, her attorney, who added that the demotion was "absolutely" retaliation for her complaints about the Halliburton contract.

Democrats, who had invited Greenhouse to testify about her concerns at a June hearing, asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in a letter today to reinstate her pending an investigation.

Congressman Waxman, in a letter co-signed by Sens. Dorgan and Lautenberg, lays the smackdown in a letter to Rumsfeld:

Retaliation against employees for providing information to Congress is illegal and entirely unacceptable," said the letter, which was signed by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) and Sens. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). "Ms. Greenhouse has given Congress important information essential to our oversight of waste, fraud and abuse."

So that's the stuff that we know about, along with an appropriate Democratic response thereto. But perhaps more interesting is the stuff that hasn't been widely reported--namely, that she apparently upset the insurance industry with a plan to save money to taxpayers by offering cheaper worker's comp:

Greenhouse had also angered major insurance companies with a proposal to save hundreds of millions of dollars by offering cheaper workers' compensation-style insurance to federal contractors. Her initiative drew sharp resistance from some of the country's most powerful insurance companies, which could have lost business under the proposal.

The Army Corps was scheduled to make an announcement on the cost-savings program as early as September. It was unclear whether Greenhouse's demotion would affect the program, which would have awarded the insurance to a single carrier through competitive bidding.

"This was her baby. She's the one who fought for this thing. And she made some people upset," said one insurance industry official who has monitored the program.

So tie two and two together: for these people, increasing the record profits of enormous corporations is good; trying to cut government waste and save taxpayers some money is bad. Anyone who goes out of their way to create efficiency and save money at the expense of the big corporations will be punished.

I'm really glad that the LA Times and Henry Waxman have picked up on this. Hopefully this will gain traction in the talk shows and everything. In the meantime, let's all do our typical LTE campaign using this new information--because now we know it's not just about Halliburton; it's about the insurance industry too, and I don't think anybody really likes those guys too much either.

Daily Kos: Bunnatine Greenhouse makes Waxman's list and hits the MSM

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