indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Lamberth issues rulings in Cobell trust fund case
Thursday, September 25, 2003

The federal judge overseeing the Cobell lawsuit today ordered the federal government to complete an historical accounting of billions of dollars of Indian funds by 2007, and affirmed that common trust law applies to the management of that money..

In a 270-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth largely accepted the historical accounting methodology proposed by the Department of Interior. But he rejected several limits the Bush administration sought to impose on the project, saying that it should go back to 1887, the date the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust was created, and that it should include the assets of those who died waiting for an accounting.

Lamberth forbade the use of statistical sampling, another one of the government's proposals, except to perform an audit of the trust. The accounting should be conducted based on standards that an accounting firm hired by Interior has developed, he added.

To ensure the government carries out its duties, Lamberth plans to appoint a judicial monitor. The monitor and any agents he or she hires shall have "unlimited access to Interior�s premises and records, as well as the power to conduct confidential interviews with Interior officials and employees," the decision states.

But mindful of the separation of powers, Lamberth said he will instruct the monitor and the agents "not to intervene in the administrative management of Interior, and not to direct the Interior defendants or any of their subordinates to take or refrain from taking any specific action to achieve compliance. It will further direct the monitor and his or her agents not to consider matters that go beyond superintending compliance with this court's injunction."

A separate 79-page decision describes how the Interior will fix the trust and the standards by which it is to be administered. Concluding that the "duties imposed at common law upon trustees govern the administration of the IIM trust," Lamberth identified all of the basic fiduciary duties that are applicable.

Lamberth also recognized the role of tribal governments in the trust. He called on the department to ensure that it follows tribal law when necessary, and allowed the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) a continued role in the suit as a friend of the court. "It is manifest that the Indian Tribes are major stakeholders in the administration of the IIM trust," he wrote.

In an 18-page order, Lamberth set out timelines for the government to meet in performing the accounting and fixing the system. He said Interior should complete the accounting for per capita and judgment accounts by September 30, 2004; all land-based accounts by September 2006 and all special deposit accounts by September 2007.

Lamberth imposed deadlines on the department's "to-be" project of trust reform. Noting that it is "really only a plan to make a plan," he said it should be completed by March of next year.

Today's decisions come after a 44-day trial Lamberth concluded on July 8.

Decisions:
Historical Accounting | Fixing the System | Structural Injunction

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice - http://www.usdoj.gov/civil/cases/cobell/index.htm
Indian Trust, Department of Interior - http://www.doi.gov/indiantrust

Copyright � 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tribal sovereignty foe in charge of nation's environmental agenda (2/20)
Trump gets another extension in Supreme Court tribal casino case (2/20)
Senate finally ready to consider nomination of Ryan Zinke for DOI (2/20)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets hearing on Trump 'priorities' (2/20)
Tim Giago: Our Lakota children are dying while we wring our hands (2/20)
Mark Trahant: Indian programs gain 'high risk' label at worst time (2/20)
Native Sun News Today: 'Haven For Hope' proposed for homeless (2/20)
Ivan Star Comes Out: 'Civilization' aims to alienate Native America (2/20)
Cronkite News: Navajo leader pleads to Trump to help power plant (2/20)
André Cramblit: Sorry but Indian Country just got 'Trumped' again (2/20)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Sen. Hoeven raises red flags in Indian Country (2/20)
Peter d'Errico: Indian Country's 'trustee' isn't trustworthy anymore (2/20)
Raymond Hitchcock: The facts about Wilton Rancheria's casino plan (2/20)
Wilton Rancheria seeks to join lawsuit as gaming site is put in trust (2/20)
Tribes find common ground with Trump on Supreme Court nominee (2/17)
Bureau of Indian Affairs issues 'trespass' notice to #NoDAPL camp (2/17)
Hearing on injunction against Dakota Access moved to February 28 (2/17)
Native Sun News Today: Drilling test in treaty territory stirs concern (2/17)
Editorial: Presidents on Mount Rushmore didn't treat tribes so well (2/17)
Native women pushing for action on missing and murdered sisters (2/16)
Army Department formally cancels Dakota Access Pipeline review (2/16)
Native Sun News Today: Dakota Access firms see spills, explosions (2/16)
James Giago Davies: Tribes face bigger threat than Dakota Access (2/16)
Cronkite News: Navajo school official worried about Trump era cuts (2/16)
Monte Mills: Tribes turn to courts to battle Dakota Access Pipeline (2/16)
Steven Newcomb: Dakota Access marks growth of imperial empire (2/16)
Vena A-dae Romero: Bringing our tribes out of obesity & diabetes (2/16)
Gyasi Ross: Native and African people share history of resistance (2/16)
Mohegan Tribe announces resignation of top gaming executive (2/16)
Jena Band of Choctaw Indians secures funding for casino hotel (2/16)
Standing Rock leader vows to 'forgive' after White House slight (2/15)
Native women host briefing on missing, murdered women & girls (2/15)
Native Sun News Today: Vic Runnels was an artist for all seasons (2/15)
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.