WASHINGTON (CNN) -
A congressional report concludes that, under federal ethics standards, Vice President Dick Cheney still has a financial interest in Halliburton, the energy services company he used to run.
The report, by the Congressional Research Service, came at the request of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat and former player in the corporate world who has pushed Cheney on the issue.
The report says that the deferred compensation that Cheney receives from Halliburton as well as the more than 433,000 stock options he possesses "is considered among the 'ties' retained in or 'linkages to former employers' that may 'represent a continuing financial interest' in those employers which makes them potential conflicts of interest."
"As this C.R.S. report shows," Lautenberg said, "The ethics standards for financial disclosure is clear. Vice President Cheney has a financial interest in Halliburton."
On Sept. 14, Cheney said on the NBC News program "Meet the Press" that "Since I left Halliburton to become George Bush's vice president, I've severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest. I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had, now, for over three years."
Cheney has insisted in the past that the deferred compensation was set up long before he became a candidate for the vice presidency. The money is insured in case the company goes under and Lautenberg acknowledged that the compensation received so far has been donated to charity.
Lautenberg also acknowledged that the president and the vice president are both exempt from the enforcement of ethics laws.
"I believe the vice president is an honorable man," Lautenberg said at a news conference, "I just think he made a mistake."
In a written release, Lautenberg said, "I ask the vice president to stop dodging the issue with legalese, and acknowledge his continued ties with Halliburton to the American people."
Lautenberg said $205,298 was paid to Cheney in deferred salary by Halliburton in 2001, and $162,392 last year. Lautenberg said Halliburton stock options held by Cheney were 100,000 shares at $54.50 per share, 33,333 shares at $28.125 and 300,000 shares at $39.50 per share.
Halliburton (HAL: Research, Estimates) stock closed Thursday at $24.72. The Morningstar stock rating service gives Halliburton a C-minus grade for growth, D-plus for profitability and a B for financial health, even though Halliburton secured $2.25 billion in contracts in Iraq, including a controversial $1.25 billion no-bid contract.