Column: Congress shares blame in IHS mess
"Once again, complete incompetency, corruption, mismanagement, greed and most likely a combination of all these traits has created yet another storm of mistrust regarding American Indian affairs and the wisdom in spending taxpayer dollars.

This time the target is squarely on the federal Indian Health Service.

But it should be on Congress itself just as much.

A congressional investigation conducted by the Government Accountability Office, which acts only on requests from Congress, reported that at least $15.8 million worth of equipment charged to the Indian Health Service is missing, and further, that falsified documents and cover-ups were evident during its investigation as IHS officials tried to influence the findings.

"It's disgusting what's happening at the Indian Health Service," claims North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. "We can't continue to allow this. We have people dying because they can't get health care, and then we get a report like this."

True, Mr. Dorgan, but your judgmental words do little to help the situation unless you and your colleagues in Congress wake up, push special interests aside and take action.

That includes New Mexico's own Sen. Pete Domenici, who also serves on the Senate's Indian Affairs Committee and has done many great things over the years for American Indian people. Requiring greater accountability of their money, however, is not one of them."

Get the Story:
Troy Turner: A $15.8 million pile of bat dung (The Farmington Daily Times 7/23)

GAO Report:
IHS Mismanagement Led to Millions of Dollars in Lost or Stolen Property | Summary

Related Stories:
GAO Report: IHS lost $15.8M in property (7/22)