The Week in Review
ending July 12
Congressman Brad Carson (D-Oklahoma), left, and Associate Deputy Secretary Jim Cason.
Photo © NSM.
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Missed the week's stories? Get a complete listing
Trust fund battle goes to Congress
The fight over the Indian trust fund moved to Congress this week with a
hearing on a possible settlement of the long-running Cobell case.
The two sides in the case were miles apart about the money involved,
with a Department of Interior official suggesting that any accounting
errors were in the low millions.
Associate Deputy Secretary Jim Cason said a settlement in
the billions was not likely.
Excluding the Bush administration, there was agreement among Indian
Country representatives at the hearing, who rose in opposition to legislation
that would give the Department of Interior full authority to
offer cash payouts to account holders and resolve
other claims through a statistical sampling.
Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the suit, was joined
by tribal leaders in calling for the provision's defeat.
Those sentiments were echoed by the House
Resources Committee, whose members asserted control over
The lawmakers criticized the proposal, which was
drafted by another committee, as unfair and out of order.
That doesn't mean solutions that make everyone happy will be
coming out of Congress any time soon. While Democrats said
they would rather leave it up to the courts to decide, that's
a path that the government and some tribal leaders not
directly involved in the suit would rather avoid.
The issue heads next to the House floor, where the settlement
program could be removed even before it comes up for debate.
The Senate Indian Affairs Committee is also trying to come
up with a solution and will hold a hearing later this month.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth wrapped up another
trial this case, and could rule on oustanding issues.
Get the Story:
Dicks pins anti-Cobell language on
Editorial: Trust fund settlement
bill 'disgraceful' (7/7)
Swimmer to appear on Native America
Reorganization Recap: Top 10 Lessons
Closing arguments set in Cobell
trust fund trial (7/8)
Judge Lamberth hears closing
arguments in Cobell trial (7/9)
Bush official balks at large
settlement for Cobell (7/10)
House takes testimony on trust fund
Editorial: Shame on Bush and
Congress for rider (7/10)
There's still more to read in the recap
of the top stories.