Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement

House Republicans plan bill to limit Cobell attorney fees to $50M





Two leading House Republicans are introducing a bill that limits attorney fees in the Indian trust fund lawsuit to $50 million.

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Washington), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, say the attorneys promised to limit their fees to $99.9 million. They say the new request for $233 million goes against the settlement agreement enacted by Congress.

"There are concerns that the plaintiffs misled the Committee as well as their nearly 400,000 Indian clients,” Young said in a press release. “For this reason, there is a need for legislation to place a cap on the fees and to examine why Plaintiffs failed to disclose information that Congress and affected Indians had a right to know about.”

“Let’s be clear: every dollar paid to attorneys is a dollar that comes out of the pocket of individual Indians in this settlement. This handful of lawyers is trying to take an obscene share of the money,” said Hastings. “This Settlement should be about fair treatment of the 400,000 affected individuals in Indian Country, not lawyers looking to strike it rich.”

The bill also requires the Interior Department to submit a report to Congress on its land consolidation plans. The settlement includes $1.9 billion to buy highly fractionated interests from willing Indian beneficiaries.

Get the Story:
Press Release: Chairmen Young, Hastings Introduce Legislation Limiting Excessive Attorney Fees in Cobell Settlement (House Resources Committee 3/2)

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