Skip to comments.Justice Dept. Agrees to Pay Native Tribes $1 Billion for Mismanaged Funds
Posted on 04/15/2012 11:22:31 AM PDT by Nachum
The Obama administration has reached a settlement with more than 40 Indian tribes to resolve claims of mismanaged funds by the Department of the Interior.
After 22 months of negotiation, the U.S. Department of Justice agreed with tribal representatives for the government to pay more than $1 billion to 41 tribes.
Attorney General Eric Holder said the settlements fairly and honorably resolve historical grievances over the accounting and management of tribal trust funds, trust lands and other non-monetary trust resources that, for far too long, have been a source of conflict between Indian tribes and the United States. The settlement does not have to be approved by Congress because it comes out of the Treasury Departments Judgment Fund.
The Interior Department became involved through its management of about 56 million acres of trust lands for federally-recognized tribes as well as 100,000 leases on these lands for uses ranging from timber harvesting to farming to oil and gas extraction.
(Excerpt) Read more at allgov.com ...
Wuli is on the right path here - this litigation has been going on for decades in various forms. People should check out Reagan appointee Royce Lamberth’s rulings in previous litigation here. Team Obama has so poisoned the well on these sorts of cases that it is impossible to know whether this settlement is on the level.
Well, that takes care of the Native American vote.
I wonder who will be next?
On the contrary. The taxpayers are DIRECTLY responsible for the actions of its agents -- the bureaucrats. Which is why every pencil-pushing desk pilot in the government must be held accountable to the taxpayers. We cannot let them hide behind anonymity, bureaucracy, or their corrupt unions any more. It is OUR money they are stealing, and WE who are held liable for the damages they do. Therefore, WE ARE THE BOSSES!
Fish Hawk, I appreciate your effort to add some context to this.
Most people operate on the smoke>fire and zebra>stripes models, and if Eric Holder and the Obama administration are for something, then it cannot be good for America as a whole. And that is largely true.
And it is also a truism that any activities having to do with Native Americans, from legislation to administration, are largely populated by some of the most rabid leftists there are.
In this case, people see five things: money, timing (election year) corruption, mismanagement and minorities.
These are usually the five fingerprints from the left hand of liberalism. (The right hand is in the till, or more accurately, in our pockets)
This usually elicits a near knee-jerk reaction, and most of the time it is correct. I concede it may not be in this case, but if you help us understand it a bit better, we can make a more informed judgment.
In this case, how long is “historical” in your opinion, or in the context of this unallocated money transfer by the Treasury Department?
Where did the money disappear? Was it money that was allocated in budgets by the Treasury and never got to the recipients (tribes) or did the money find its way out of the treasury, where it was lost to reckoning after that?
Fightin Whitey makes the point about a gradual change in the administration in various places of the government including the Treasury and the Bureau of Indian Affairs...do you have any knowledge of what he is referring to, any specifics on that? (for example, did the administration of money from the Treasury passed to the Bureau of Indian Affairs get assumed by people who have degrees in Native American Studies or some such thing rather than traditional political bureaucrats?
I ask these questions, because as I read the thread, my first response is to see stripes and think of zebras, and smell smoke, thinking of fires.
Howdy Fish Hawk, good to hear from you.
You and I have gone a few rounds before, but we ended with a handshake, and I came away with appreciation for the keen mind I was up against and also your big heart.
I would only disagree with your assessment in this sense: Let’s say I have a million at the bank and I leave my debit card (with the pin number) on the kitchen table for all my friends and relatives to use, if they have a real need or emergency. I tell them I would like them to keep good records, and pay me back if possible, but in the meantime I am ready and willing to help.
When the bank calls me up to tell me the account is empty, and I tell them I have no idea where the money went, we might both be telling the truth. But lacking any proof of the bank’s misdeeds there is no reason in the world that they should replenish my funds, is there?
Wuli, I think I am saying much the same thing as you—it isn’t so much thievery of tribal money in question here, it is just that the money has been spent and somehow there have been no decent records kept.
So the government is going to pay it all out again from the same source and to largely the same recipients as before.
I mentioned 30 years because that is how long, approximately, that my experience reaches back. Actually it is more like forty. When I was growing up in a reservation town many of my white pals’ parents worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Some of my Indian friends’ parents worked there too but in my long-ago memory the BIA office in town was largely (and unwisely I would say) staffed by white managers, adminstrators and clerical workers.
As I went through school it seemed obvious that the Interior Department or someone had started a push (sensibly, right?) to replace white Agency employees with tribal members, almost always through attrition, if I remember right.
When I look at the outcome these many years later I see not so much nefariousness as a lack of training, structure and oversight.
My dad was a small loan officer in the community bank and back early on they made LOTS of small loans to tribal members—they called them “assignments,” as in an assignment of grazing or mineral proceeds—based on the borrower’s expected lease payments (often from private sources) or trust payments (from the government).
The rules were clear and straightforward and it was a good program. My dad was always proud of how it worked out for everybody.
Later, as with everything governmental, the rules got more complicated and the relationships got more adversarial and now that kind of small loan program doesn’t really exist, as far as I know.
So it goes.
“it is just that the money has been spent and somehow there have been no decent records kept.”
You are wrong. All your theoretical examples and anecdotal references aside IT IS NOT an issue of incidents where some appropriate sums were paid out once before and now, due to lousy record keeping, they are going to now be paid out again.
The questions arose from the beginning when some tribes questioned what had been paid to them for their oil/gas/mining leases, and when the government’s records were found - by court trials - unable to solve the question, they went to the oil/gas/mining industries for a look-see at their records, and given what THEY had paid and given what the tribes knew they had received, everyone knew “something was rotten in Denmark”.
The legal dilema was how to ascertain an appropriate settlement when the government’s record-keeping proved incapable of doing that on its own.
Even court demands that the government “fix” the records proved impossible as a sole means to rely on, because many records were either not kept or not kept very long.
The problem goes back as far as government administered leases for gas/oil/mining on tribal lands. That was a lot more than 30 years ago.
How do you know the appropriate sums weren’t paid out?
You don’t, do you?
How do you know, in your precise non-theoretical and non-anecdotal Harvard Business School terminology, that “something was rotten in Denmark”?
You don’t, actually, do you? Because adequate records don’t exist to prove anything one way or another, except that somebody was damn bad at record-keeping, whether intentionally or not.
All I told you is what I know. What you know is precisely nothing, not anecdotally, not financially, not historically.
If you think a tarted-up statement like, “The legal dilemma was how to ascertain an appropriate settlement when the governments record-keeping proved incapable of doing that on its own” differs materially from “it is just that the money has been spent and somehow there have been no decent records kept,” then, yes, I guess I am wrong and you are right.
You are so blindly right you should work for the government. If you already don’t.
Still hopin’ to go fishing with you one of these days, FH.
Learn from the best: that’s long been my motto, you know.
Thanks for the heads-up. I’m glad to see you’re still tending the forest, brother. Take care, hey?
I read this, and I realize that what I have long known but not wanted to face, is that there is no accountability to the electorate.
“Because adequate records dont exist to prove anything one way or another, except that somebody was damn bad at record-keeping, whether intentionally or not”
While adequate records do not exist IN THE GOVERNMNENT to make the case that they might have made more payments than everyone believes; they just can’t prove it ‘cause the records are so bad, adequate records do exist, outside the government, within the records of the gas/oil/mining companies and the banks that at least among gas/oil/mining leases the gas/oil/mining companies’ records identified as on tribal lands, the sums the gas/oil/mining interests paid in royalties for those leases alone don’t appear to be represented by the sums paid to the tribes, in the banking records.
It is your speculation, and maybe the government’s claim, that ‘we DID pay more money than claimed, and the tribes know it and contrived to hide that fact on their end’ is pure speculation ‘cause thanks to the government it cared so little about accounting for this matter that it can prove NOTHING about it. Naturally, the government has lost all its cases on this issue in the courts; as seems only fair.
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