Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
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Cobell
Sen. Barrasso proposes changes to trust fund settlement


Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, is proposing changes to the Indian trust fund lawsuit.

In a letter to Indian Country, Barrasso suggested five changes. He wants to:
• limit pre-settlement attorneys' fees to $50 million -- the settlement currently caps fees at $100 million but a judge will determine the exact amount
• limit "incentive" awards to the named plaintiffs to "actual, unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses incurred by that plaintiff
• appoint a special master to select a bank that will administer the distribution of the settlement funds
• require the Interior Department consult with tribes about the $2 billion land consolidation fund
• set aside $50 million of the $1.412 billion in payments to beneficiaries in order to address "insufficient or unfair" situations

Barrasso is not proposing to increase the overall $1.412 billion in payments to account holders or the $2 billion land consolidation fund.

Get the Story:
Wyoming senator solicits input on Indian trust settlement; Reid, Pelosi call for swift action (AP 4/27)
Wyoming Senator Pitches $50 million Cap on Fees in Cobell Case (The Blog of Legal Times 4/28)
Cobell and Keepseagle in limbo (Indian Country Today 4/28)

Relevant Documents:
Agreement | Press Release | Q&A | Audio

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