Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement

Rep. Young threatens subpoenas over bill on Cobell attorney fees





Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, threatened to issue subpoenas today after the Obama administration and the plaintiffs in the Indian trust fund lawsuit refused to testify at a hearing he called.

Young is holding a hearing on H.R.887, a bill to limit the plaintiffs' attorney fees to $50 million. But no one from the Cobell litigation team or the administration agreed to testify.

"If they continue to stonewall me, I will subpoena," Young said during his opening remarks at the hearing.

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Washington), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, also gave opening remarks. He said the plaintiffs have refused to cooperate.

"Every dollar paid to attorneys comes directly out of the pockets of individual Indians," said Hastings, one of three Republican co-sponsors of the bill.

Rep. Dan Boren (D-Oklahoma), the top Democrat on the subcommittee, said he was concerned about the attorney fees. But he said the bill interferes with the judicial process and raises constitutional issues.

Only two people are testifying at the hearing: Patricia Douville, a council member for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota; and Richard Monette, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School.

Committee Notice:
Legislative Hearing on H.R. 887 (April 5, 2011)

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