Following the second tribal governments’ lawsuit, which called on April 30 for a full payout in 24 hours, the Presidential Cabinet leaders took five days to announce that the 60-percent distribution would happen over an unspecified number of days more. “We are pleased to begin making $4.8 billion in critical funds available to tribal governments in all states,” Secretary Mnuchin said. “Thanks to President Trump and Secretary Mnuchin for working with Congress to pass the CARES Act as historic financial support will now begin to be disbursed to Native Americans battling the Covid-19 health crisis,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “I appreciate the Secretary of the Treasury’s determination in providing a clear pathway to get these resources promptly delivered,” he added. The first of the tribal governments’ complaints over the withheld funding arose from Interior Department Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney’s advice to the Treasury Department to channel about half of the tribal government CARES Act budget to for-profit Alaska Native Corporations. The complaint resulted in a preliminary federal court injunction responding favorably to plaintiffs with a ruling that “no Alaska Native Corporation is eligible for any share of the $8 billion allocated by Congress for tribal governments,” because the ANCs are for-profit businesses. Sweeney is an Alaska Native, former employee and lobbyist of the largest of the 13 Alaska Native Corporations, and a current stockholder. She did not disclose that her husband Kevin Sweeney is a registered lobbyist for Bristol Bay Native Corporation, which was among the first companies to apply for CARES Act funding intended for tribal governments, according to the non-profit Western Values Project.
"Frustrating": Tribal nations are still jumping through bureaucratic hoops in order to secure the full $8 billion in #COVID19 relief that was promised by the Trump administration more than seven weeks ago. #CoronavirusReliefFund #CARESAct #Coronavirus https://t.co/UQEIx8ZG3y— indianz.com (@indianz) May 20, 2020
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