Move over, Halliburton. Dick Cheney's former company has been replaced as the Texas champion of ripping off American taxpayers in the "rebuilding" of Iraq.
A report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, a federal agency, finds that 8 of 11 rebuilding projects by the Parsons Corporation costing $365 million had to be stopped before completion for disastrous waste and ineptness.
The investigation was prompted by the company's $75 million construction of the Baghdad Police College, which ended up with feces and urine pouring from ceilings in student barracks, floors heaving off the ground, and water dripping profusely in a room dubbed "the rain forest."
As the U.S. military makes the country safer from insurgent attacks, American corporations are giving Iraq a taste of democracy in the sluggish, waste-ridden rebuilding of its infrastructure. Audits have found administration and overhead costs running as high as 55 percent on some projects.
In addition to its Texas connections, Parsons is one of the largest contributors to American political campaigns in the construction industry. That makes Middle East baksheesh look like small potatoes.