Law | Trust

More tribal trust fund settlements expected in coming weeks

The Obama administration has settled 55 tribal trust fund lawsuits but even more deals are in the works.

Most of the deals were announced in a White House ceremony in April. Some 41 tribes settled for a total of $1.023 billion in what was called a historic event.

There have been 14 additional settlements and another 10 to 11 are coming soon, an Internal Revenue Service official said last week Although the IRS isn't involved in negotiations, the agency has been informed of the pending deals by the Justice Department and the Interior Department.

"We are told ... that they anticipate 10 or 11 more very similar settlements," Christy Jacobs, the director of the IRS Office of Indian Tribal Governments, told the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs last Friday. "Those would then be added to the list."

The addition of the new settlements would mean the Obama administration has reached deals with nearly three-quarters of the tribes that filed lawsuits during the final years of the Bush administration. About 100 tribes have been seeking an accounting of their trust funds and trust assets.

"We are very close," said an attorney for one tribe that has a deal in the works.

Additionally, the Obama administration reached a settlement with the Osage Nation, which filed its lawsuit during the early years of the Bush administration.

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