'Shameful mishandling' of the Indian trust

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"In its dollar magnitude, it's almost certainly the biggest case of financial mismanagement in U.S. history. While a final tally is years away, in part because of suspiciously lost or missing documents, there's good reason to think that the dollar figures will dwarf WorldCom's $9 billion. It's a scandal that crosses partisan lines and reaches into high levels of both the Clinton and the Bush administrations. And it's got nothing to do with Wall Street.

The shameful mishandling by the federal government of the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust fund--created to manage the proceeds from leases of Indian land--encompasses 300,000 accounts and 56 million acres, spans more than 100 years, and involves amounts of money estimated at between 10 and 100 billion dollars. The class-action lawsuit Indian landowners have filed against the Department of Interior--currently named Cobell v. Norton--has been going on for nearly seven years, though knowledge of trust-fund mismanagement dates back much further than that. Robert Rubin, Bruce Babbitt, and Gale Norton, along with assorted deputies, have all been held in contempt of court by Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. And yet, thanks to a combination of convoluted detail, media bias, and ideological blindness, most Americans have never even heard about it."

Get the Story:
Daily Express: Broken Trust (Jacob T. Levy. The New Republic 1/29)

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust, Department of Interior -
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton -
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice -
Trust Reform, NCAI -

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