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Bush Backs Pentagon Review of Excess Spending in Iraq - 2003-12-12

President Bush is backing a Defense Department review of spending in Iraq that shows more than $120 million in excess charges by a company once run by Vice President Dick Cheney. The president says, if there was any overcharge, the money should be repaid.

President Bush says he expects the Defense Department to follow through with its audit, and if any companies have charged the government too much, they will need to give that money back.

"We are going to make sure that as we spend the money in Iraq that it is spent well and wisely," he said. "Their investigation will lay the facts out for everybody to see, and if there is an overcharge like we think there is, we expect that money to be repaid."

The Pentagon says a subsidiary of the oil services firm Halliburton over-charged the Army $61 million for fuel from Kuwait. Officials say the excess does not appear to be intentional but comes from over-charging by the Kuwaiti supplier.

The audit also found another $67 million in extra charges for feeding U.S. troops, but those discrepancies were found before the bills were paid.

Vice President Cheney stepped-down as chief executive of Halliburton when Mr. Bush asked him to be his running mate in 2000. Without competitive bidding, a Halliburton subsidiary won Pentagon contracts for Iraq which could total more than $15 billion.