Department of Interior releases status report on Indian trust accounts - Officials cite progress, critics fire back
(Note: This writer does a superb job of understanding the deception of the federal agencies. In this case, the Language Deception is used by Ms. Norton that "No other federal financial system -- not the tax collection system, the Social Security system, or the Medicare system -- has ever been tasked with an undertaking of this type and scope. The resources necessary to accomplish this task are staggering -- estimated at more than $12 billion. Although the district court’s order has been stayed pending appeal, Interior has nonetheless continued its accounting work, consistent with its own 2003 accounting plan and the funding provided by Congress, and has made substantial progress.” This is nothing more than the insatiably hungry fox in charge of the hen house. The Department of Interior is spending an obscene number of taxpayer dollars to cover its tracks and make the public think that there's any real, honest accounting going on. )
September 20, 2005
By Sam Lewin [email protected]
Native American Times
P.O. Box 692050
Tulsa, OK 74169
To submit a Letter to the Editor: [email protected]
The Interior Department is defending its accounting of Indian trust fund accounts, saying they have compiled and released a status report showing the “scope” of their efforts.
Interior officials say that the status report is being delivered to Congress and tribal leaders and is also available online.
“No other federal financial system -- not the tax collection system, the Social Security system, or the Medicare system -- has ever been tasked with an undertaking of this type and scope,” Interior Secretary Gale Norton said in a statement. “The resources necessary to accomplish this task are staggering -- estimated at more than $12 billion. Although the district court’s order has been stayed pending appeal, Interior has nonetheless continued its accounting work, consistent with its own 2003 accounting plan and the funding provided by Congress, and has made substantial progress.”
A news release from DOI states that the report “reaches a number of conclusions based upon historical accounting work completed thus far.”
DOI says those conclusions are that:
-Supporting records exist and can be located for a high percentage of individual accounts and transactions.
-Differences between supporting records and recorded transactions are few in number, small in size, and not widespread or systemic.
-There is no evidence that historical records have been altered or that hackers have tampered with electronic records.
-There is ample evidence that monies collected for individual Indians were distributed to the correct recipients—contrary to the claims of Interior’s critics.
One of DOI’s most persistent critics is Bill McAllister [email protected], a former [Washington Post] journalist now working as a spokesman group suing Norton. McAllister recently again took issue with DOI’s handling of the records.
“Record keeping? Many leases were never recorded and records were destroyed by the thousands. There are photographs of barns filled with rotting trust records [that are] on file in the courts…. The trust program today is nowhere near meeting the standards of major trust companies,” McAllister wrote.
Associate Deputy Secretary of the Interior Jim Cason countered that the report will help the public better understand the issue.
“This report explains the basics of historical accounting and provides a summary for the public and for Congress,” Cason said. “So far, Interior has collected a quarter of a billion pages of Indian records and has begun digitally imaging and archiving millions of pages of relevant documents. The effort has identified some accounts in which too little was paid to Indian beneficiaries and some in which the government made excess payments to individuals. These examples tend to be few in number, small in size, and, to this point, have not revealed any evidence of systemic fraud or abuse.”
The report can viewed online by going to www.doi.gov/indiantrust/iimaccounting.pdf
Copyright 2005, Native American Times.
Additional researched, related, recommended reading:
"Historical Accounting for Individual Indian Monies: A Progress Report" http://www.doi.gov/indiantrust/iimaccounting.pdf (28-page report that appears to be seeking to sell the premise that nothing's wrong with the fox guarding the chicken coop, complete with lots of colorful graphics but saying little, and nothing of any detail)
About Bill McAllister
Bill McAllister spent
most of his journalism career at The Washington Post, where he was a
reporter, editor and columnist from 1975 to 1999. He has also
worked at The Wall Street Journal, The Virginian-Pilot and The Denver
Since 2002 he has
worked as an independent writer for a number of organizations and
A native of
Cobell information (June 20, 2005) http://www.indiantrust.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.ViewDetail&Pre ssRelease_id=125&Month=6&Year=2005
There is a wide array of huge money-spending (taxpayer dollars) projects at the Office of Budget: http://www.doi.gov/budget/
The Department of the Interior Fiscal Year 2006 Budget in Brief http://www.doi.gov/budget/2006/06Hilites/toc.html