The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

October 7, 2013

AP IMPACT: Tribes mishandle funds, go unpunished

(Continued)

Federal officials try to coach tribes to self-correct rather than punish them — both in deference to tribal "self-determination" and because there aren't enough staff to closely monitor the thousands of service contracts between tribes and the government.

"There were less people in that hallway than you would find working in a McDonald's," said Walter Lamar, a former deputy director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' law enforcement program. His Washington, D.C., headquarters staff of six or seven oversaw 100 tribal police agencies that patrol an area one and a half times larger than New York state.

Even when auditors raise concerns, there is no guarantee that tribal leaders will be investigated or prosecuted. Several auditors said their contracts were not renewed after they uncovered self-enrichment by tribal leaders.

In Montana — the nation's fourth-largest state by size, with a history of corruption on its far-flung reservations — just two investigators track down tips of fraud for the Interior Department's inspector general. The FBI focuses on violent crime.

Sympathy for tribes among some government officials also is at play.

During her years as a lawyer at the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Allison Binney said she heard some agency officials say they weren't interested in recovering funds because of "how many times a particular tribe was taken advantage of by the federal government.'"

Another justification for inaction Binney heard: A tribe is too poor to pay back federal funds.

That was the conclusion in the case of the Lake Paiute tribe in Nevada, and the fish hatchery that never was.

Over 14 years, starting in 1992, the BIA sent the tribe $1.6 million to protect the threatened Lahontan trout. Central to the effort was a fish hatchery. But by 2003 the hatchery still hadn't hatched a single fish. And that year it was converted to an office.

Text Only
AP National
  • With Israel at war, US lawmakers give full support WASHINGTON (AP) — As the war in Gaza escalates, U.S. lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military campaign against Hamas. Many even have criticized the administration's effort to

    July 29, 2014

  • Abuse suspect dead; two marshals, NY policeman hurt NEW YORK (AP) — A California man who skipped town after being accused of molesting a boy was killed and three law enforcement officers trying to arrest him were wounded in a daytime shootout inside a small smoke shop in one of New York's most bustlin

    July 29, 2014

  • Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute. These consumers fall behind on credit cards or hospital bill

    July 29, 2014

  • Despite good news, benefit programs face problems WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite some good news, Medicare and Social Security still face long-term financial problems as millions of baby boomers reach retirement. Social Security's disability program is already in crisis as it edges toward the brink of ins

    July 29, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Today Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR ENTERS FOURTH WEEK — DURATION, DEATHS MATCH FIRST CONFLICT Heaviest bombardment in Gaza yet as Israeli aircraft, tanks and nav

    July 29, 2014

  • NYC uses food trucks to bring summer meals to kids NEW YORK (AP) — Within minutes, the line at the food truck parked on a busy Queens thoroughfare extended several people deep. Hipster foodies looking to sample vegan pizzas or fusion tacos? Nope, these were children, agonizing over whether to pick th

    July 29, 2014

  • Avoiding plane crashes as air traffic doubles NEW YORK (AP) — More travelers are flying than ever before, creating a daunting challenge for airlines: keep passengers safe in an ever more crowded airspace. Each day, 8.3 million people around the globe — roughly the population of New York City — s

    July 29, 2014

  • Analysis: Clinton impeachment shadows GOP lawsuit WASHINGTON (AP) — The last time Republicans unleashed impeachment proceedings against a Democratic president, they lost five House seats in an election they seemed primed to win handily. Memories of Bill Clinton and the campaign of 1998 may help expl

    July 28, 2014

  • After six weeks, finally a deal on VA health care WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays. Congressi

    July 28, 2014

  • US: Russia has fired rockets into Ukraine WASHINGTON (AP) — Stepping up pressure on Moscow, the U.S. on Sunday released satellite images it says show that rockets have been fired from Russia into neighboring eastern Ukraine and that heavy artillery for separatists has crossed the border. The

    July 28, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National