FROM THE ARCHIVE
Trust fund master files records investigation
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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2001

The special master in the Cobell v. Norton Individual Indian Money (IIM) lawsuit today filed his first investigative report into the records management policies of the Department of Interior.

Alan Balaran began the probe in February. But he has been hindered throughout by Secretary of Interior Gale Norton, who sought to limit his access to the necessary senior management and information.

All of Norton's challenges were eventually rejected and Balaran moved forward. He has now found that the government still has no clear policy despite being held in contempt for not producing relevant documents.

Perhaps more seriously and in what could lead to additional contempt charges, Balaran says the Interior has misrepresented completion of tasks identified by the High Level Implementation Plan (HLIP), the blueprint to trust reform. The government has provided quarterly reports saying 11 records projects are complete.

However, Balaran said the Interior cannot provide proof of its supposed success.

"Thus, although the Court plainly had reposed significant trust in Interior to make sure that the tasks outlined in the HLIP were getting done in a timely and efficacious manner, Interior does not appear to have put in place a mechanism that warrants such trust," Balaran wrote.

Get the Story:
FIRST INVESTIGATIVE REPORT OF THE SPECIAL MASTER (11/29)

Today on Indianz.Com:
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Relevant Links:
Office of the Special Trustee - http://www.ost.doi.gov
Trust Management Improvement Project - http://www.doi.gov/bia/trust/tmip.htm
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com

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