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August 2002

White House Cooks The Books On Indian Trust Accounts

In stark contrast to President Bush's urgent call for "corporate responsibility," and to stop the scandals rocking Wall Street, The White House along with Secretary of the Interior and the Attorney General are seeking legislation to obstruct the ability of the United States District Court in the landmark Indian trust lawsuit, Cobell v. Norton, to uncover the full scope of malfeasance in the government's mismanagement of billions of dollars of assets held in trust for 500,000 individual Indian trust beneficiaries.

Specifically, the White House has asked Congress to appropriate millions of dollars in tax revenue to hire private attorneys to protect government officials who have breached their fiduciary responsibilities and have covered-up their misconduct by destroying tens of thousands of boxes of documents and electronic trust records throughout the six-year case. Worse still, the government deliberately has failed to provide adequate information technology (IT) security for individual Indian trust funds, exposing billions of dollars of trust monies to theft, loss, and misappropriation.

At the same time, the White House has requested that Congress cut off funds for judicial officers who have begun to expose the nature and scope of this massive government financial scandal and has asked Congress to cut off funds for the full accounting ordered by United States District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth and the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

The malfeasance committed by the government exceeds in aggregate the financial losses and document destruction that have been reported for Enron, Global Crossing and MCI-WorldCom.

Lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell expressed anger and frustration in this unprecedented effort to protect administration officials who deliberately violate the law and breach their trust duties:

"It is very strange that the President acts aggressively to prosecute chief executive officers of public companies for their corrupt activities at the same time the President attempts to protect government officials who engage in precisely the same misconduct. If the President is correct that this behavior is criminal and must be stopped now, and he is, why is cooking the books and cover-up acceptable when done by officials in his Administration? Congress should send a clear message to the White House that this will not be tolerated. And, the public should be outraged by this naked abuse of power."

For further information, contact: visit <a href= http://www.indiantrust.com >http://www.indiantrust.com </a> or contact Mia Merrick at (402) 878.4244.

 

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