indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Former Abramoff client saves BIA from $3 million cut
Thursday, May 4, 2006

A decision by one of Jack Abramoff's former clients has saved tribes across the nation from one of the Bush administration's funding cuts.

In April, the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan voted to return a $3 million federal appropriation to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The money was secured through the lobbying efforts of Abramoff, who has pleaded guilty to defrauding his tribal clients.

But what was a bad situation for one tribe has been turned into good fortune for Indian Country. The Saginaw Chippewa earmark will now be used to restore $3 million that the Bush administration took from the BIA budget to pay for fees awarded for the Cobell trust fund lawsuit.

"I commend the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe for returning funds and specifying that they be used to restore the funds," said Keith Harper, a Native American Rights Fund attorney for the Cobell case.

"This is yet another example of what Indian Country can do if we stand united," he added.

In letters to members of Congress, the tribe called on the BIA to use the earmark to patch up a hole created by Jim Cason, the associate deputy secretary at the Interior Department. Cason, a political appointee who was not subject to Senate confirmation, removed $2 million from a BIA account used to pay tribal attorney's fees and imposed a $1 million across-the-board cut on all BIA programs.

Tribes immediately protested the cut, saying they were being penalized for the federal government's mistakes. The Cobell fees were awarded because the Interior Department and the Treasury Department have been on the losing side of the lawsuit.

Cason defended his decision and claimed the Cobell fees, which totaled $7 million, were a surprise even though a ruling on the matter had been pending for over a year. But he reversed course on Monday and said he was "pleased" to inform tribal leaders that the $3 million cut was restored thanks to the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe.

The letter noted "concern" expressed by tribal leaders about his cut. He recently held a meeting with tribes in Denver, Colorado, to discuss the impact on the tribal attorney's fees account, money that is used to negotiate water rights and other types of settlements.

Cason also said the chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Interior Appropriations subcommittee wrote letters "to express concern over these reductions." Leaders of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee questioned the cut as well.

The Saginaw Chippewa Tribe secured the earmark for a school construction project. The money was placed in the 2004 Interior appropriations bill because the BIA had determined the tribe didn't qualify for the program.

The earmark has led to scrutiny of Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Montana), the Interior Appropriations subcommittee chairman. He received campaign contributions from the tribe, and other Abramoff clients, around the same time he secured the $3 million for the tribe.

The tribe eventually decided not to go through with the school construction, leading to the decision to return the earmark to the BIA Tribal Demonstration Project account. Tribal leaders also fired Abramoff after they accused him and his partner, Michael Scanlon, who also pleaded guilty, of taking $14 million for services that weren't performed.

Jim Cason Letter II:
Dear Tribal Leader (May 1, 2006)

Saginaw Chippewa Letter:
Dear Congressional Appropriators (April 6, 2006)

Jim Cason Letter I:
Dear Tribal Leader (January 26, 2006)

Relevant Links:
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe - http://www.sagchip.org
Saginaw Chippewa Member Voices - http://www.sagchipvoices.org
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice - http://www.usdoj.gov/civil/cases/cobell/index.htm

Related Stories:
Jodi Rave: Tribes alarmed at trust reform initiative (4/3)
Cobell addresses trust fund mismanagement (3/30)
Ross Swimmer: Indian trust not about mismanagement (3/29)
Norton denies fraud or major problem with trust (3/29)
Witness list for hearing on Indian Trust Reform Act (3/28)
DOI trust reform meeting set for Portland, Oregon (3/24)
Kempthorne faces hot issues at Interior Department (3/21)
DOI pressed for more clarity on trust initiative (3/3)
Congress urged to settle Cobell lawsuit for billions (03/02)
Listening Lounge: Joint hearing on Cobell v. Norton (03/01)
Interior hits the road with new trust reform initiative (02/08)
Jodi Rave: Garcia calls for settlement of Cobell (2/3)
Cason slashes BIA budget and blames it on Cobell (2/3)
Tribes discuss trust reform bill, Cobell settlement (1/31)
Commentary: Swimmer still not telling the truth on trust (1/26)
Opinion: Indians want $12B of 'YOUR' money (01/10)
Cobell: Appeals court ruling a favorable one (12/21)
Cobell team awarded fees for lengthy court fight (12/21)
Ross Swimmer: No 'lump sum' settlement for Cobell (12/19)
Attorney: Interior still not living up to trust duties (12/19)
Report: Cason says termination of trust on the table (12/16)
Still no agreement on settlement to Cobell (12/9)
Audio: House Resources hearing on Cobell (12/8)
House Resources to hold hearing on Cobell (12/5)
Elouise Cobell: Lamberth frustrated with DOI (11/28)
Judge Lamberth, the cowboy, sides with Indians (11/28)
Editorial: Settle Cobell trust fund lawsuit (11/25)
Cobell to press Interior on accounting mess (11/22)
Cobell says government not off the hook on trust fund (11/21)
Broad accounting of Indian trust fund blocked (11/16)
Battle over Cobell trust fund case heats up (10/24)
Interior ordered to protect Indian trust fund systems(10/21)
Lamberth issues new IT shutdown injunction (10/20)
Interior warned of computer security risks again (09/30)
Bush calls for new judge in Cobell v. Norton case (08/16)
BLM CIO threatened with demotion in Cobell case (08/02)
Appeals court stays Lamberth order on notices (7/29)
DOI mum on settlement figure for Cobell v. Norton (7/27)
Indian leaders to pledge support on trust reform (7/26)
Listening Lounge: Senate hearing on Cobell (7/26)
Cobell calls trust reform bill a win for Interior (7/22)
McCain and Dorgan introduce trust reform legislation (7/22)
Opinion: Keep open mind on Cobell settlement (7/19)
McCain plans hearing on Cobell settlement, reform (7/14)
Judge blasts Interior on handling of trust (7/13)
Elouise Cobell: Principles put trust back into trust fund (07/07)
Cobell and Cason to appear on C-SPAN program (7/6)
Cobell calls for settlement of trust fund lawsuit (7/5)
Editorial: Resolution of trust fund debacle needed (7/5)
Editorial: Abramoff scandal can't compare to trust (6/30)
Opinion: Downfall of Indians traced to Army, BIA (6/28)
Pombo supports settlement of Cobell trust fund case (6/27)
Harjo: Tribes lobby to fleece their own people (6/24)
Editorial: Congress should settle trust fund (6/24)
Editorial: Trust fund a 'national embarassment' (6/22)
Indian Country united on trust reform solutions (6/21)
Trust workgroup to outline Cobell settlement goals (6/17)
Trust reform costs put at $3B, thanks to Bush (6/13)
Echohawk optimistic on settlement of Cobell case (06/03)
Final trust reform meeting held in North Dakota (6/3)
UTTC hosts meeting on trust reform legislation (6/1)
House panel acts to restore Bush budget cuts (05/05)
NCAI and ITMA hold second trust reform meeting (05/04)
Bush administration won't give up fight on Cobell (03/18)
McCain weighs GAO probe of Indian trust debacle (03/10)
McCain lays out Indian agenda for 109th Congress (3/7)
Norton won't testify on trust fund retaliation (2/28)
Bush official won't accept claims of trust mismanagement (02/17)
Appeals court won't hold back Lamberth on trust reform (12/13)
Appeals court supports Lamberth's authority on IT (12/06)
Lamberth critical of Norton's 'bad faith' on trust fund (10/25)
Interior denies attempt to halt trust fund payments (10/05)
Bush administration challenges trust fund ruling (09/16)
Appeals court takes on Cobell trust fund case (9/15)
Lamberth exchanges harsh words with Cobell critic (08/02)
Bush administration calls for end to Cobell case (04/09)
Cobell trust fund suit mediators announced (4/6)
DOI's Internet connection shut down for third time (03/16)
Lamberth defends special master against attack (03/16)
Anderson praises Cobell suit in NCAI speech (2/25)
Tribes still frustrated on trust reform (11/20)
Bush officials blasted by tribal leaders (11/19)
Cobell plaintiffs disputing trust fund rider (11/17)
Daschle criticizes 'shameful' rider in DOI budget bill (11/04)
Norton welcomes time-out in Cobell trust fund case (11/4)
Bush official balks at large settlement for Cobell (7/10)

Copyright 2000-2006 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tim Giago: An independent candidate awakens 'Party' zombies (9/22)
Mark Trahant: Huge crowd turns out for People's Climate March (9/22)
Doug George-Kanentiio: All children are gifts from the Creator (9/22)
Native Sun News: Native women take stand against violence (9/22)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe heads into election (9/22)
Navajo Nation to announce trust fund settlement this Friday (9/22)
S.E. Ruckman: A remarkable day with arrival of Cobell checks (9/22)
Jon Tester: Bill protects Special Diabetes Program for Indians (9/22)
Ron Allen: Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe keeps workers engaged (9/22)
Dante Desiderio: Working together to address tribal tax issue (9/22)
Vena A-dae Romero: Asserting sovereignty through our food (9/22)
Mark Rogers: Leadership in Native America is at a crossroads (9/22)
Dave Lundgren: BIA must take a closer look at rights-of-way (9/22)
Peter d'Errico: Video uses humor to battle racist NFL mascot (9/22)
Opinion: Racist sports mascots preserve 'imaginary' Indians (9/22)
Justice Sotomayor studied Indian law after joining top court (9/22)
House subcommittee holds hearing on bill for Hualapai Tribe (9/22)
Colville Tribes participate in repatriation ceremony in Canada (9/22)
Shinnecock Nation tightens regulation of tobacco businesses (9/22)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe won't share casino revenue (9/22)
Coeur d'Alene Tribe can't offer poker games pending appeal (9/22)
Lytton Band might purchase property next to gaming facility (9/22)
Nottawaseppi Huron Band reopens casino after electrical fire (9/22)
Guilty verdict in robbery of Saginaw Chippewa casino winner (9/22)
Editorial: Poarch Creek gaming deal deserves consideration (9/22)
Native Sun News: Tribes united against Keystone XL Pipeline (9/19)
Regina Brave: The earth that once was will soon be no more (9/19)
Chelsey Luger and Gyasi Ross: A conversation about suicide (9/19)
Cobell settlement checks being cashed across Indian Country (9/19)
Congress passes measure for tribal general welfare programs (9/19)
Native Sun News: US Senate candidates debate Native issues (9/18)
Cobell settlement checks landing in Indian Country mailboxes (9/18)
Sen. Walsh welcomes arrival of last Cobell settlement payout (9/18)
Rep. Daines praises House action on tribal general welfare bill (9/18)
Winnebago attorney joins BIA as a deputy assistant secretary (9/18)
NWIFC schedules briefing on 'Treaty Rights 101' on Capitol Hill (9/18)
Norbert Hill: It's past time to drop the Washington NFL mascot (9/18)
Peter d'Errico: Connecting mascots to racism and termination (9/18)
Opinion: Eliminating NFL team's racist mascot is just the start (9/18)
Student newspaper punished over refusal to print the R-word (9/18)
Officer investigated for 'drunk uneducated animals' comment (9/18)
9th Circuit rules against Chemehuevi Tribe in land deed case (9/18)
Mashable: Oglala Sioux man still pushing MazaCoin currency (9/18)
City won't allow vote on Tohono O'odham Nation casino plan (9/18)
9th Circuit poses tough questions in Big Lagoon casino case (9/18)
North Fork Rancheria banks on voter approval of casino deal (9/18)
KBIC judge dismisses lawsuit challenging plan for new casino (9/18)
Oneida Nation concerned about location of commercial casino (9/18)
Mashantucket Tribe's gaming executive to resign next month (9/18)
Column: Time for Mohegan Tribe to show its hand over casino (9/18)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.