Apr 13, 2004
by Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vice President Dick Cheney received $178,437 in deferred pay last year from Halliburton, the Texas oil-field services company he once headed that has received billion-dollar government contracts in Iraq.
The White House on Tuesday released the 2003 income tax returns for both Cheney and his wife, Lynne, and President Bush and his wife, Laura.
Cheney’s office said the income from Halliburton was in no way linked to the financial health of the company, a subsidiary of which is under investigation for possibly overcharging the U.S military for fuel supplies in Iraq.
The Bushes’ taxable income was virtually unchanged from 2002. It was reported at $727,083, after deductions of $95,043. Their income included his salary earned as president — $397,264 — and investment income from the trusts in which their assets are held.
The Bushes reported paying a total of $227,490 in federal income taxes. They contributed $68,360 to churches and charitable organizations.
The Cheneys reported taxable income of $813,226 in 2003. They paid $258,779 in taxes in withholding and estimated tax payments, but only owed $253,067 and thus were eligible for a $5,712 refund but decided to apply that to their 2004 taxes.
Cheney reported $198,600 in vice-presidential salary for the year.
In addition, his tax return reported the payment of $178,437 in deferred compensation from Halliburton Co.
The deferred pay is based on a 1998 agreement in which Cheney elected to defer compensation earned in 1999 for his services as chief executive officer of Halliburton.
This amount is to be paid in annual installments, with interest, over the five years after Cheney’s retirement from Halliburton.
Cheney has taken some criticism from Democrats for his connection to Halliburton, which is the U.S. military’s biggest contractor in Iraq, responsible for everything from preparing meals for U.S. troops to repairing Iraq’s oil infrastructure.
The company has been a lightning rod for criticism during this presidential election year due to allegations it received lucrative contracts because of its ties to the White House.
Both Halliburton and the White House have strongly denied the charges, and Halliburton has said it had operated legally under its Iraq contracts.
A statement from the vice president’s office said Cheney’s decision to defer income from Halliburton became “final and unalterable before Mr. Cheney left Halliburton.”
“The amount of deferred compensation received by the vice president is fixed and is not affected by Halliburton’s economic performance or earnings in any way,” the statement said.
The Cheneys donated $321,141 to charity in 2003, primarily from donations of Mrs. Cheney’s royalties from the publisher Simon & Schuster on her books, “America: A Patriotic Primer,” and “A is for Abigail,” and her forthcoming book “Fifty States.”