The U.S. Army says an oil company previously run by Vice President Dick Cheney may distribute Iraqi oil. The company won a no-bid contract that allows it do more in Iraq than previously thought.

The Army Corps of Engineers says the Halliburton company has the right to pump and distribute Iraqi oil. That contract, which was awarded without competitive bidding, was previously thought to cover only the work necessary to put out oil well fires and make emergency repairs.

Vice President Cheney ran Halliburton for five years before becoming the president's running mate in 2000. Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman wants to investigate whether Mr. Cheney helped the company win the $50 million contract.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer denies the allegations, saying they are politically motivated. "Congressman Waxman has never met a Republican he did not want to investigate," he said. "You can address all questions to the contracting agencies. And of course the oil of Iraq belongs to the Iraqi people. All resources of Iraq belong to the Iraqi people."

Mr. Fleischer says the White House is not involved in awarding contracts for post-war Iraq and did not intervene on Halliburton's behalf.