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The Week in Review
ending July 12
Congressman Brad Carson (D-Oklahoma), left, and Associate Deputy Secretary Jim Cason discuss trust fund during a break at House Resources Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. July 9, 2003. Photo NSM. Congressman Brad Carson (D-Oklahoma), left, and Associate Deputy Secretary Jim Cason. Photo © NSM.
Want In The Hoop's list of the week's Winners and Losers? Wait no more.

Missed the week's stories? Get a complete listing here.

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 trust matters. 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 Taylor (7/7)
Editorial: Trust fund settlement bill 'disgraceful' (7/7)
Swimmer to appear on Native America Calling (7/7)
Reorganization Recap: Top 10 Lessons (7/8)
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 settlement (7/10)
Editorial: Shame on Bush and Congress for rider (7/10)

more stories
There's still more to read in the recap of the top stories.


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