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Lawmakers concerned about Lower Brule Sioux Tribe allegations

A sign on the Lower Brule Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Photo from Rolf Blauert / Wikipedia

All three members of South Dakota's Congressional delegation are worried about a report that allegations corruption and misspending by the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe.

Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota) said he's asked the Inspector General at the Interior Department to look into the matter. He wants to learn the facts before moving forward.

"We've got to make sure tax money is spent wisely and well, for the purpose that it was intended," Thune told South Dakota Public Radio. Representatives of new Sen. Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) and Rep. Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota) also expressed concerns.

The report from Human Rights Watch accused tribal leaders of failing to account for about $25 million in federal funds between 2007 and 2013. Chairman Michael Jandreau has called the allegations "baseless" but the group said he didn't actually respond to any of the issues raised by the investigation.

"What we're really hoping for is to see some accountability for what's been going on with the money," Arvind Ganesan, the director of business and human rights at the group, told The Mitchell Daily Republic.

Ganesan said he's heard from other people in Indian Country, asking his group to look into triba spending on their reservations.

Get the Story:
'Serious, troubling' accusations in Lower Brule (The Mitchell Daily Republic 1/18)
Congressional Delegation Monitoring Lower Brule Corruption Allegations (South Dakota Pubic Radio 1/19)

Human Rights Watch Report:
Secret and Unaccountable: The Tribal Council at Brule and Its Impact on Human Rights (January 2015)

Related Stories:
Editorial: Lower Brule Sioux Tribe should be open about funds (1/15)
Editorial: Lower Brule Sioux Tribe should be open about funds (1/15)

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