Since then, 90 percent of the money has been made available to tribes, according to Treasury. Seeing as how his eligibility decision led tribes to promise an appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court, Mehta put the hold on the remaining money, provided the plaintiffs should file a notice of appeal by July 14 in the consolidated tribal cases referred to as Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation et al v. Steven Mnuchin in his official capacity as Secretary of the Treasury. The judge had granted the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction prohibiting distributions to ANCs early on in the case, but he lifted it on June 26 when he ruled them eligible. With the stay of his June decision in place, he reasoned, the outcome of an appeal would determine the correctness of his interpretation of Congress’ intent in authorizing the money. The public interest “rests in carrying out Congress’ will, and that interest is not served if ANCs receive and spend tens of millions of dollars of emergency relief to which they are not entitled,” he wrote. However, he added, “A delayed appeal would defeat the very purposes for which Congress appropriated CARES Act funds on an emergency basis.” The plaintiffs “have not suggested that they intend to delay prosecuting an appeal; to the contrary, they have said they will pursue expedited review,” Mehta recognized.
Alaska Native corporations will continue to wait for more than a half-billion dollars in #COVID19 relief as a bitter legal dispute involving tribal nations heads to a higher court. #Coronavirus #CARESAct #CoronavirusReliefFund https://t.co/nOeVazbvYA— indianz.com (@indianz) July 9, 2020
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