Interior not holding back consulting report
Facebook Twitter Email

The Department of Interior is not holding back a trust fund report for which Secretary Gale Norton paid nearly $3 million, a spokesperson said on Thursday.

Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles was correct when he said all but five pages of the EDS Corporations interim report on trust reform was public, said communications director Eric Ruff. The pages are under seal because they relate to the sensitive topic of computer security, he said.

Ruff also said the department will make the EDS report readily available to any one who asks for it. Tribal leaders, including Chairman Greg Bourland of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, had complained Norton wasn't providing copies of the report on which she based her decision to create a new agency to handle Indian trust assets.

In response, Griles said the report was available on the Interior's web site. Ruff, however, said he couldn't immediately confirm if the statement was true.

A check by Indianz.Com of the site didn't turn up the document.

EDS Corporation was hired by Norton in July to assess two key trust reform projects, a $40 million computer system and the verification of records dating back more than one hundred years. The contract was originally for $900,000 but was expanded when EDS was enlisted to look at all aspects of reform.

As part of its task, EDS made 13 recommendations to improve handling of trust assets. The first was to "immediately appoint a single, accountable, trust reform executive sponsor," first reported by Indianz.Com on November 7.

Norton expanded on this suggestion to create an Assistant Secretary for Indian Trust Assets Management. The person would oversee $3.1 billion in tribal and individual assets and 54 million acres of trust land.

Ruff said interested persons should call the department to obtain a 19-page executive summary of the report. The full report is more than one hundred pages and can be mailed, he said.

The five pages regarding security will remain under seal unless U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth decides otherwise. The Wall Street Journal has filed a request to unseal all private reports in the case, having successfully done so for a Department of Treasury report detailing the cover-up of 162 boxes of destroyed trust fund records.

Lamberth has indicated he would unseal any relevant reports on his own. Included are investigations by special master Alan Balaran.

The department's press office can be contacted at 202.208.6416. Ask for John Wright, Mark Pfeifle or the office of Eric Ruff.

Today on Indianz.Com:
Interior slammed on trust fund progress (11/30)
New NCAI president vows BIA fight (11/30)
Interior will send 'someone' to hearing (11/30)

Relevant Links:
Office of the Special Trustee -
Trust Management Improvement Project -
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton -

Related Stories:
Norton ordered to trial for 'fraud' (11/29)
Tribal leaders reject BIA overhaul (11/29)
Indian Country deserves answers (11/29)
McCaleb suffers leg injury (11/29)
Report: Interior can't be trusted (11/29)
Norton to attend consultation session (11/29)
Big showing expected at Norton meeting (11/29)
Griles: Receiver ends sovereign relationship (11/29)
Swimmer: No clue on historical funds (11/29)
Contempt trial important somewhere (11/29)
Developing: Norton, McCaleb ordered to contempt trial (11/28)
Norton sees GOP support on overhaul (11/28)
Trust fund settlement talks fail (11/28)
NCAI shoring up Norton opposition (11/28)
Tribal leaders challenging Norton (11/28)
Norton wants to cut Interior jobs (11/28)
Norton failing on trust fund backup (11/27)
Interior schedules first consultation (11/27)
Interior cutting off tribal comments (11/27)
BIA collecting Indian preference info (11/27)
Norton's BIA overhaul blasted (11/26)
Interior changes mind on consultation (11/26)
Indian Country opposition gains momentum(11/26)
Norton faces big week on trust (11/26)
Editorial: Give Norton plan a chance (11/26)
Norton's attorney decries unfairness (11/26)
Norton's choice raises questions (11/26)
Judge holds secret hearing (11/23)
Indian Country slams 'sham' consultation (11/21)
Top trust fund official questioned (11/21)
No Thanksgiving for Indian Country (11/21)
Domenici praises Norton's 'bold move' (11/21)
BIA reorganization a focus of NCAI (11/21)
Reagan's Indian chief is back (11/20)
McCaleb faces Indian preference question (11/20)
Norton defends overhaul of BIA (11/20)
Norton promises fast start (11/20)
Developing: Swimmer tapped by Bush administration (11/19)
Few answers on BIA overhaul (11/19)
Norton challenges trust fund receiver (11/19)
Gover: Indian Country had it coming (11/19)
BIA reorganization focus of radio show (11/19)
Norton defends quarterly reports (11/19)
Norton's 'runaway train' denounced (11/17)
Norton stripping BIA of trust duties (11/16)
Tribal leaders in uproar over proposal (11/16)
Top Democrat calls for hearings (11/16)
Bush officials to speak at NCAI (11/16)
Norton files contempt defense (11/16)
Q&A on BIA Reorganization (11/16)
Developing: BIA stripped of trust duties (11/15)
Interior might need year on new agency (11/15)
Gover: Indian Country now 'weaker' (11/15)