Law | National

Most of Indian farmer discrimination settlement goes unspent





Less than half of the $760 million Keepseagle settlement has been distributed to Indian farmers and ranchers, The New York Times reports.

The Obama administration reached the settlement to resolve claims of discrimination at the Department of Agriculture. It included $680 million in direct payments to Indian farmers and ranchers and a $80 million loan forgiveness fund.

But only around $300 million has gone to Indian farmers and ranchers. Some 4,400 filed claims and payments went to 3,600, the Times reports.

That leaves around $380 million that the plaintiffs' lawyers are supposed to share with Indian farmer organizations. But no groups have been chosen, more than two years after the settlement was announced and more than a year after the deadline to file claims passed, the Times reports.

“Everybody is looking at this money on the table and saying, ‘Give me some because I am a good guy,’" Ross Racine, the director of the Intertribal Agricultural Council, told the Times.

The plaintiffs' lawyers were paid $60.8 million for handling the case, which was filed in 1999. So that presumably means around $320 million is available for Indian organizations.

Get the Story:
Federal Spigot Flows as Farmers Claim Discrimination (The New York Times 4/26)

Relevant Documents:
Plaintiffs Press Release | Settlement | Notice Form A | Notice Form B
Damages Award | Loan Debt Relief
Native American Farmers and Ranchers Council | Named Plaintiffs
President Obama Statement | USDA Press Release

Related Stories:
Cherokee Nation farmers receive Keepseagle settlement funds (9/5)
Payments from $760M Keepseagle settlement being distributed (9/3)